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Babe In My Heart, Blogs

You Asked, Ava Answered

August 14, 2017

After our recent blog post about the Ava Bracelet for tracking fertility, we received a ton of questions about how it all works! So we went straight to the source and sat down with Kate Slagh from Ava to find out why this little blue bracelet is the must have fertility accessory of the season.

WTF: What makes the Ava Bracelet different than ovulation predictor kits?

AVA; The most commonly used ovulation predictor kits use urine to detect a rise in luteinizing hormone (LH). These tests can be helpful you have very regular cycles and already have an idea of the four or five best days to test. It is common for a woman’s cycle to vary by up to seven days each cycle and this makes it challenging to know when to take an LH test. Many women have to take two tests per day for five days or more in order to achieve a positive result. Also, peeing on sticks everyday is inconvenient and messy.

With Ava, women wear the bracelet only at night. While you sleep, Ava tracks 9 physiological parameters. When you wake up, you synch the Ava bracelet to your smart phone and can see insight into your cycle and fertile window. Ava users love that it is easy to use and provides incredible insight in an easy to read graph. Women can get pregnant 6 days per cycle and Ava detects 5.3 of these days with 89% accuracy. Other OPKs are able to detect a 12-48 hours fertile window, at best, and only if you take the test at the right time.

WTF: What is the significance of tracking the 9 different body signals?

AVA: Ava uses clinically tested technology to track changes in the physiological parameters imparted by hormonal variations throughout the cycle. Ava uses these parameters to detect the beginning and end of the fertile window, in real time. To give you a few examples, Ava tracks pulse rate, temperature, sleep quality, sleep quantity and heart rate variability, which is an indicator of physiological stress. In clinical trials we have been able to show the correlation between many of these parameters and specific points in the menstrual cycle. Did you know that your resting pulse rate is significantly increased during your fertile window compared to your menstrual (bleeding) phase? This is one example of how your Ava learns about your body to give you insight into your cycle.

WTF: Is it safe and effective to use Ava while undergoing fertility treatments such as clomid?
Ava: Yes, it is safe to use Ava while taking medications such as clomid. We have not clinically tested Ava in women taking clomid but there is no reason to discontinue using Ava if you begin such a treatment. Anecdotally, we see that women taking follicle stimulating medication have Ava charts with clear fertile windows and ovulatory patterns that are just what you would expect with a normal cycle where ovulation occurred.

WTF: Explain the importance of the 5 fertile days for conception.
AVA: On average women can get pregnant six days per cycle. The best way to conceive is to have intercourse prior to ovulation so when the egg is released (ovulation) the sperm is ready and waiting. Detecting these fertile days and timing intercourse appropriately is the key to successful conception. Ava detects 5.3 fertile days each cycle so couples have a better chance of conceiving. In fact, using Ava doubles your chances of conceiving each month by letting you know when it’s the right time to try.

WTF: Besides trying to conceive, why are women using Ava?
AVA: Many women use Ava to learn about and track their menstrual cycles. A woman’s body goes through amazing changes each cycle and understanding these changes can help women understand their health. Imagine knowing when your migraine headaches will be the worst and planning ahead-Ava can help you do that. Ava also has a pregnancy app that gives you interesting facts about how babies develop week by week. Pregnant women also continue to wear their Ava bracelet at night to continue tracking sleep, pulse rate and more. Ava keeps tracking your body signals, you just wont see a fertile window or expected ovulation.

WTF: What is the success rate of women who wear Ava and are trying to conceive? Do you keep tracks of those numbers?

AVA: We sure do-but we don’t share publically the number of Ava assisted pregnancies. One of the reasons we don’t share this information is because not every woman who gets pregnant using Ava will her news with us. The number of Ava babies, since our product release, is growing and the first Ava babies are now being born. We love nothing more than to celebrate Ava pregnancies and Ava babies!

 

Order your Ava Bracelet HERE and don’t forget to use the discount code ALEXIS to save $20!

 

Blogs, What We Love

Dear Fellow Breastfeeding Mother

July 31, 2017

•By Nadine Bubeck, Guest Blogger for Momsense

Dear Fellow Breastfeeding Mother,

You’re probably reading this at 2am. Or maybe it’s 9 in the morning. Truth is, you’ve lost track of time…you’re always up. You’re exhausted. You just want to sleep. And you feel like no one- especially your husband- understands. But as cliché as it sounds, savor this time.
I know it’s hard. I’ve been there. Twice. And I wish every day I could go back to those sleepless nights snuggling my newborn. Holding his little body on my rocker playing Pandora or singing softly. (He’s the only person who ever liked my voice.) It’s the most intimate mother-child one-on-one time you’ll ever have. Such precious borrowed time, because before you know it, your midnight feeding sessions will be a mere memory.

Beautifully tiring. That’s what I call it.

Breastfeeding is a commitment. A selfless commitment. Whether you do it one months, three months, six months, or over a year, I want to personally applaud you for giving your child a piece of your body. And I say that literally. My boobs are forever lopsided- my right will always be bigger than the left.

Sometimes feedings last minutes. Other times, hours. And then, by occasion, your child will “use you” as a pacifier. Don’t pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about it. You simply let them fall asleep at the boob so you can rejoice in some quiet, uninterrupted time somewhat alone.

Breastfeeding takes a lot out of you. I remember dozing off during many feedings. Plus, you’re on someone else’s clock. Want to take a shower? Too bad, baby needs to eat. Hungry? Put those snacks on hold until after a full nursing session. Yeah, it’s demanding, but so worth it. As moms, we naturally put our children before ourselves. That’s the amazing thing about motherhood. It teaches us the true meaning of love. Nursing is also stressful.

Like you, I’m sure, I worry day in and day out- is my newborn putting on enough pounds? The concern drove me crazy, that I fed him nearly all day (and all night) long. That’s why I am an advocate for Momsense, an innovative tool that measures how much baby is consuming. Check it out- it might give you sought after peace of mind.

To my fellow nursing moms, even though you’re drained- mentally and physically- remember you are giving your child a gift. You’re also gifting yourself. Did you know breastfeeding burns nearly 500 calories a day? Definitely the coolest diet ever, right?!

I got pregnant with my second son when my first was nine months old, so I quickly weaned before he turned one. Honestly, I cannot remember the very last time I breastfed him, and that really makes me sad. However, I have such memories of that beautiful phase of his life. When nothing else mattered. When it was just me and him. When life was put on hold because he had to eat. If I close my eyes, I can almost feel his preemie body against mine, nursing to the best of his strength and ability. And it’s bitter-sweet, because he’s going on three years old and I’ll never hold his newborn body again.

So hang in there. Tell yourself you are doing a good job, no mater what anyone else says. Take nursing selfies for your eyes only. One day, you’ll want them. And breathe. It’s stressful, but serene. It’s a peaceful experience. Everything else can wait. Savor it.

Sincerely,
A mom of two breastfed babies

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Our Double Rainbow

July 19, 2017

•By Kristie Rossi, Guest Blogger

“You’re going to be a big brother!!” I remember saying these words to my 15 month old son, Brady, shortly after getting my positive pregnancy test. I just knew this was the baby brother we had prayed for. I immediately called my mom and sisters and made a “Big Brother” shirt for Brady for our “formal announcement” to the world.

The “Big Brother” shirt. A shirt that would tell our friends and family the great news. A shirt that would sit in my drawer for 4 years as I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of it. A shirt that brought back the memories of excitement, followed immediately by grief. And tears.

Almost immediately I began bleeding, and I just knew. A quick trip to the ER to see an empty uterus confirmed this. Then the news this was ectopic. I began the process of an injection and letting my body heal, but a few weeks later, my ectopic pregnancy ruptured. This rupture and emergency surgery changed our plans for giving Brady a brother or sister. For growing our family quickly: 3 boys under 5 years.

Several years before Brady was born, I was diagnosed with Stage IV endometriosis. I also had an ovary that didn’t want to stay where it should. It decided to hide and required a lot of work to get back in it’s right place. At that time, my Doctor had told me that I’d be lucky to get pregnant on my own, but would most likely need to do IVF, as there was too much scar tissue. My ectopic rupture surgery also confirmed this, and that Doctor informed me that my 1 remaining tube was twisted. My 1 remaining tube that was attached to my ovary that refused to stay where it should. However, I decided to try Clomid because what did those doctors know? I was told I wouldn’t get pregnant on my own. And I did. Twice!

6 month, 3 cycles of Clomid. Failed. On to IVF. I had officially been diagnosed with Secondary Infertility. Huh? I had never heard these words. After googling, I found an amazing Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) in Phoenix, Dr. J, and began our adventure into IVF. Injections. Injections. Injections. Two straight weeks of nightly shots, then an additional 2 weeks of PIO shots (ouch!!!) and we were ready for our egg retrieval.

Dr J. was able to retrieve several eggs and 3 days later we decided to transfer 3 embryos. Three?!? We knew they wouldn’t all take (Triplets? No thank you!) but we knew that 1 would grow into a beautiful baby. After the longest two weeks, I went in for my pregnancy test and then Dr. J. called and told me the test was negative. Negative? As in not pregnant? As in not one, out of three embryos, stuck? How? A negative test hadn’t crossed my mind. How could it not work? Wasn’t IVF almost a guarantee to get pregnant? We scheduled our WTF appointment and immediately decided we would try again.

We waited three months and began another round of injections. This round I developed a horrible case of Ovarian HyperStimulation Syndrome. so we decided to freeze our embryos and would transfer them the next month. Walking around looking 3 months pregnant, when I was far from it provided for interesting conversations and trying to cover up what I was going through. The next month, we transferred 2 frozen embryos and again waited. Negative. WTF!?! I got pregnant so easily before hand. How was this not working??

I should also point out, around this time, my mom was losing her battle with Melanoma. I wasn’t sure anymore if I was trying to have a baby for her, or us. I wanted so badly for her to have another grandbaby before she left this Earth.

We chose to switch doctors and our initial consultation with Dr. Z, was scheduled for 2 days after my mom passed. We looked at the calendar and made a tentative plan to do our egg retrieval for January 18. My mom’s birthday was January 17, so I felt this was a sign from her that she was ok. That we were all going to be ok. January quickly came and again we transferred 2 “great looking” embryos.

A few days before my scheduled pregnancy test, I saw a double rainbow on my drive home. Then a neighbor, who didn’t know we had been doing IVF, told me that God had talked to her daughter (8), at church and told her she would need to “help Kristie with her 2 baby girls.” Wow. I knew this was it. I knew both embryos had stuck and we’d be blessed with twin girls. My mom had always joked that Brady would be her only “baby boy” and my other kids would be girls. She knew that my husband and I wanted 3 boys, so I ignored her jokes. Pregnancy test day was here!!! I waited all afternoon to get that confirmation call that “my girls” had stuck! And…Negative. Again. I was now 0-3 on IVF. And the signs? How had all these signs turned into nothing?

I still had 2 frozen embryos, 1 grade A and 1 grade B, at my old RE’s office. Dr Z. said “If you have them, let’s transfer them.” Driving these tiny embryos in this huge chamber was the most nerve wrecking 15 mile drive of my life. By this time, I was already feeling hopeless. I was deflated. I had spent the past 16 months of my life, doing injections, praying and crying. And crying. And crying. So much crying. I tried to remain positive for this last frozen transfer, but it was hard. My heart was broken. I “met” a group of women through The Bump messaging boards that were going through the same thing as me. These women kept me sane over the years during these cycles and cried with me, but were also the biggest supporters.

May 6, 2013
:phone rings:
me: “Hi Dr. Z”
Dr Z: “Hi Kristie. I really wish I had good news for you.”
Me: trying to hold my tears in. “Ok. Should we schedule our follow up appointment?”
Dr Z: “If you want to we can. I think we have run out of options for you. I think you and your husband should explore other options. Your eggs are bad and the odds of you carrying your own pregnancy are slim.”

That was it. Our journey was over. We were one and done. I practiced saying it in the mirror to try and sound convincing when a stranger asked me when we would have baby #2. To try and not let the tears well up whenever this questioned was asked. And let’s face it. It gets asked A LOT.

Secondary Infertility: Two words that prior to January 2012, I had never heard of. Two words that stole so much from me. Two words that pulled me into a such a depression, that I pulled away from my son. Two years. Two years were robbed from my relationship with my son and husband. Two years that I’ll never get back. I only hope Brady doesn’t remember.

And what about those “2 sisters” that God told my neighbor’s daughter she would need to help me out with?

July 22, 2013: While the rest of the world was celebrating the birth of the Royal baby, I was sitting at home in disbelief staring at this. How could this happen? Just 2 ½ short months after I was told to explore other options: Adoption. Surrogacy. 2 ½ short months after my husband and I decided to not talk about anything related to expanding our family until Labor Day. We were exhausted and needed a break. But then this happened.

February 28, 2014: Kallie Angelina was born. Angelina in memory of my mom. My rainbow baby. My miracle.

May 7, 2015: Two years and 1 day after I was told to explore other options. Two years and 1 day after I was told I would never carry my own baby again. Another positive pregnancy test.

December 10, 2015: My birthday present was born. Kelsie Marie.

I am still in disbelief that they are mine. That I went through 16 months of heartache and now have these beautiful blessings. We planned for a family of 5. We wanted 3 boys. I still don’t fully understand why my husband and I had to go through what we did. I do question a lot about my infertility journey. However, for me, my questions all had the same answer – someone, whether it was God, my mom, a little bit of both, had already written out my path to fertility. I will never forget my journey or take my 3 blessings for granted. My heart has ached. My heart has mourned. But with that, my heart is full.

Blogs, What We Love

The Classiest Broad Around

July 10, 2017

•By Alli Bentz of The Classy Broad, Guest Blogger

Hello, WTF Community! This is Alli from The Classy Broad, where we style interiors and events for clients located anywhere, and with any budget. As a mom of two little ones myself, I know how much we as parents battle the desire to create memorable spaces and celebrations for our families while not putting in so much effort that we lose precious, quality time with our loved ones (we’ve all fallen down the Pinterest rabbit hole and want those hours back, right!?). That’s where I come in! Photo courtesy of Amira Gray Photography.

Whether clients are looking to update a room or plan a fun, memorable party, The Classy Broad offers a range of services from e-design to a la carte styling options to take the work out of your hands while still achieving your desired outcome.
One of my favorite parts in the process begins right away when I create a design board for my clients. This not only helps with seeing the vision, it also serves as a reference for color schemes, décor pieces, etc. I always tell my clients to keep an image of their board on their phone. That way, if they’re out and see something that they may want to purchase, they can always refer to the board. Recently I helped brainstorm, source and style various elements of Grant’s First Birthday celebration. It was such a fun project and I loved seeing the ideas for this celebration come to life. Here’s the board I created for Grant’s Dance Party.

But How? The question I get all the time from friends and clients – regardless of project type – is “How do I pull it all together?”. While putting the pieces together is my favorite thing to do, it’s not everyone’s. So, I’m sharing some of the gems of wisdom I find myself imparting all the time….

Make it Your Own
When it comes to a thoughtful, meaningful celebration, personalization is key. The first thing Grant’s Mama shared with me as we brainstormed Grant’s First was that he loves to dance. That lead to designing a dance party musical theme. This was not only so cute, but it made the party personal and never lost sight of the guest of honor, i.e. the purpose for the celebration! I always get to know my clients before we start a project so that I can be sure we include personal touches.

Here, a client celebrated her twins’ first birthday with an adorable circus theme because, well, life with twins is truly a circus! Photo courtesy of Amy Anderson of Nicole Paulson Photography.

Function First
Before planning anything, I ask clients what they want to get out of their project. Do they need to cater to families with little ones? Are they planning an adults-only intimate dinner party outdoors? We then discuss function. A kid-heavy guest list means there better be something to keep those rugrats entertained. The dinner party should be set up in such a way that guests are encouraged to be outdoors so the host may need to play music and set up drinks and appetizers outside as well. Once functionality is determined, the rest falls into place.

No-Brainers
In both the event planning and design world, there are some go-to’s or no-brainers that stand the test of time. When it comes to parties for little ones, I always recommend a bounce house or other entertainment (music, face painting, balloon animals). The cost is usually not too high and it always ends up being worth it.

Little ones love music. Hiring someone to sing is always a great option, especially for a first birthday when some of the guests may be too young for other types of activities. Photo Courtesy of Amira Gray Photography.

Finishing Touches
The devil truly is in the details. However, I also constantly remind clients to focus on quality over quantity. Sometimes having one special statement area or visual moment is enough. It can be as simple as a well-styled dessert table, a decked out bar cart or themed photobooth. Some other small details that go a long way without breaking the bank are personalized cocktail napkins, tissue paper tassels, cake toppers or something as simple as using a printed wrapping paper that matches the theme as a table runner.


A recent client and I crafted up a bright and cheery first birthday that was equal parts boho and preppy. She used a paper-flower decorated tee pee as the photo booth backdrop which made for fantastic photos. Photo Courtesy of Amira Gray Photography.

This dessert table you see behind these sweethearts was no doubt the pièce de résistance of the entire bash. It not only made a statement but it served as a fantastic backdrop as the guests of honor dove into their smash cakes. Photo Courtesy of Amy Anderson of Nicole Paulson Photography

Have Fun!
A party is only as good as its guests and a home is just a house when it’s empty. Remember that always. If you have fun and make sure the others involved are happy and enjoying themselves, the memories will make themselves!
Like what you see? Check out more at The Classy Broad or follow my daily musings on Instagram. I’d love to work together on your next project!

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

The More Ya Know

June 28, 2017

•By Guest Blogger Suzie Welsh, founder of BINTO

I was working as an IVF and Fertility nurse for Penn Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, working with women who had so many questions about which products to use and what to avoid.

It occurred to me that there was literally no one company looking at women’s health as a life cycle, and then supporting it through meaningful products and knowledge. It was that realization, and my daily work with my patients, that led me to take a leap of faith and start BINTO…Bun In The Oven!

BINTO is a women’s lifestyle brand designed to change the way we look at, and take care of, the lifecycle of women’s health. The company mission is to help us (women) get the safe and effective products we need every month to support our unique health journey. BINTO removes the stress and guesswork out of finding products by creating a personalized suite just for you. The subscriptions range from period and hormonal support, to fertility, pregnancy and now menopause.

As a nurse, I learned how to talk to women and couples about fertility—something our society doesn’t always do very well. I learned how to emotionally support someone whose IVF doctor may be busy with a thousand other patients.

The process and journey can feel very isolating for these women and their partners, and they often don’t know where to find reliable resources. On the one hand, there’s medical literature, which can be difficult to parse. And on the other, a wide range of personal blogs, which can be light on authoritative information. My mission is to occupy that middle space and offer hassle-free access to healthy products, as well as facts grounded in medical science. And that’s what BINTO delivers.

Reproductive health is essential to our overall wellbeing. When is comes to the places we choose to live, the products we use, and the food we eat, it all ties into the health of our reproductive organs.

Until recent years, there was little in the way of research into environmental factors and reproductive health, more importantly, fertility. We now know, thanks to advances in research and much conversation, that the way we live and eat impacts our fertility. This is the case for both women and men.

BINTO supports women’s health journeys with safe and effective products geared toward supporting fertility and reproductive health, including organic cotton tampons, prenatal and regular multivitamins with built-in DHA, probiotics, and feminine wipes. The extensive free online knowledge center includes a streamlined library of reliable online information on topics ranging from ovulation tracking to endometriosis.

BINTO champions the awareness and importance of reproductive health by partnering with people on the journey to optimal reproductive health, conception, and beyond.

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

“Just Relax” They Say

June 26, 2017

•By Kathryne Shrewsbury, Guest Blogger

Let’s keep it real, dealing with infertility issues sucks. It is stressful, time consuming and expensive. You are not in control of the outcome even if you do everything right. I know first hand what infertility looks like having gone through two rounds of IVF, one fresh embryo transfer, one frozen embryo transfer, hundreds of injections, 40,000 dollars spent and countless hours at doctors appointments.

My husband and I decided early on in this journey that we would be open and honest about our fertility issues. We didn’t shy away from the fact that we needed help to start our family with the hopes our story may help someone else who is also struggling. I have pretty thick skin and don’t let what others say get me because I believe most people are undertanding, caring and compassionate. But sometimes others also don’t quite understand what you are going through when it comes to infertility. People may make comments that come from a good place, but trying desperately to have a child it can come off as rude, naive or insensitive. In my opinion, here are the top 3 statements never to say to someone who is TTC/going through fertility treatments.

“You guys just need to relax. It will happen when the time is right”
Do not say this to anyone trying to have a child. This statement is the number one thing that makes my blood boil. There was one person in my life who said this to me over and over during the time we were trying to conceive and even after we found out we would have to go through IVF. I just wanted to reach over, shake her and scream that she had no idea what she was talking about. I think people who say this don’t know a lot about infertility. In my case my husband’s low sperm count, not stress, was causing our infertility issues.

“My sister/cousin/friend did XYZ and they got pregnant.”
I don’t care if your sister started meditating or doing yoga and got pregnant or if your friend started eating some special foods or supplements and got pregnant. Those women and their partners did not have fertility issues that required medical intervention. I understand that the person suggesting these activities/products is just trying to help, but it will not help someone who is actually suffering from infertility.

“Do you really need to be doing that?”
This was something that didn’t really bother me at the time, but looking back I find it very annoying that someone would question the medical decisions my husband, my Doctor and I made together. No one would ever choose to have fertility problems and it’s not like I woke up one day and said, “I’m going to do a round of IVF.”  There were tons of doctors appointments, lab tests, blood draws and stressful decisions to get to that point. So yes. I really need to be doing…IUI/IVF/ICSI/PGS testing etc!

Thankfully my infertility struggles have a happy ending. I have a very active 18 month old son, Renner, and another on the way both conceived through IVF. My family would not have been possible without the help of our amazing team of doctors and nurses as well as the support of our family and friends.

If you know someone struggling with infertility be honest and tell them you don’t know what they are going through physically or emotionally but that you are there if they need you. Ask questions and educate yourself. Personally I am always more than happy to answer questions people have about our journey to start our family. It makes me feel so honored when family, friends and even complete strangers open up to me about their fertility issues. Sadly it is so much more common than most people realize and if we’re keeping it real, the best way to get through infertility is if we do it together.

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Timing. Is. Everything.

June 20, 2017

For as long as I can remember, I’ve always pictured myself having a big family. Not just 3 or 4 children, I seriously want 10 kids! Even though my two “almost twins” can be a lot to handle and completely test my sanity at times (coffee helps!), I actually still want to have more babies! Ok, ok…so 10 kids is probably a bit outrageous and mainly because logistics…like who’s gonna do all that laundry and would I ever even wash my hair? Gabe and I know that while our family is perfect as it is, it doesn’t feel quite complete yet. So it’s time to start thinking about the next babe and how exactly are we gonna “get it.” The options are naturally (we’ve already agreed no more IVF), another adoption (including foster/adoption) or maybe even both!

First we’re going to try and see if we can’t prove those Doctor’s wrong (again) and get pregnant on our own! That’s why I am so excited about my Ava bracelet. It takes all the guess work out of fertility tracking and will get us on the right course to conception! All I have to do is wear this bracelet at night while I sleep and then sync it to my phone in the morning. No charting temperatures or using those ovulation predictor kits…which by the way I did religiously for about 4 years when we were trying to conceive! Ava makes fertility tracking easy and effortless by charting 9 different body signals and detecting my 5 most fertile days of the month.  I’ve learned that timing is everything and I seriously love my Ava bracelet. Gabe and I are excited and hopeful that we will be able to conceive naturally if that’s God’s plan for us!

I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’m nervous about this next step. For starters, I’m not even sure that I will be able to get pregnant again and it brings back all those awful infertility feelings. For 4 years we tried everything to start our family and all the loss and disappointment we endured comes flooding back to me. Even though we are technically considered fertile now the scars of infertility are something I will always carry with me.

I also struggle with feelings of guilt about even wanting more kids. I mean, look at me now…I have two beautiful, healthy children! I’m a mom! I have everything I’ve always wanted. And now I want more??? How greedy am I? My heart breaks for the couples who are still waiting on their babes and it just feels wrong to want more kids until they get theirs. Like somehow I’m taking up more than my fair share of the universe’s baby dust.

Although the anxiety and fears I have about starting this process again weigh on my mind, there’s absolutely nothing that’ll stop me from adding to this family. And if I’ve learned anything from the journey to my babies it’s that if you REALLY want to be parent you absolutely will. Do not give up, keep pushing forward, be open to all options and stay the course. I’m guess I better take my own advice …so herrrrrreeeee we go!

Want to try Ava? Use the discount code ALEXIS for $20 off. Click here!

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Your Day Will Come

May 15, 2017

“I still remember the days I prayed for the things I have now.” 

Seems like it was just yesterday that I would have done ANYTHING to hold my babies on Mother’s Day. I will never forget how painful it felt to have empty arms when I just knew I was meant to be a Mama. But ya know what? As crazy as it seems, now I am thankful for those days because they shaped me into the Mom (and person) I was always intended to be.

Even when I’ve got two babies who are sick and fussy, I am grateful. When I wake up every hour through the night, I am grateful. When there’s a double meltdown at the grocery store, I am grateful. When my arms are tired and my back is sore from holding a baby all day, I am grateful. When I can’t remember the last time I showered or brushed my teeth, I am grateful. (Yeah…I know, I really gotta do something to keep my hygiene in check!) I will always be grateful because I know that not having a baby is so much more difficult that having one. I know that infertility is so much more exhausting than a baby. And I know that being a mom is one of life’s greatest privileges that some woman are still waiting on.

People always ask me if it’s hard to raise to two babies so close in age and I always say, “Yes, but it’s not nearly as difficult as struggling with infertility.” So thanks infertility for giving me that perspective and the teaching me the power of perseverance.

If  you are in the middle of a struggle, continue to have faith and don’t give up. Your day will come, I promise, and when it does it’ll be even more extraordinary than you can imagine. For reasons I’ll never quite know, I just had to walk that difficult road to find my babies. And for reasons I’ll never question, I’d do it all again. In a heartbeat. And someday you’ll say the exact same thing.

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

A Mother’s Day Without Mom

May 12, 2017

By Andrea Robinson, Guest Blogger

It’s another one of those days. A marker. A reminder. A day I feel the emptiness a little more. You see, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, they are all bright flashlights into my heart. They shine on the void I still feel without my Mom. She’s been in Heaven a little over 9 years. You know that saying “time heals all wounds?” Well, I’m not so sure that’s true. Yes, time marches on, people go about living, people forget the dates, but not me.

I think, those of us that have lost someone so dear as our mom, we never get over it. Whether you were 10 years old or 70 years old when she left you, it still brings heavy sadness. The grief bursts still come…like huge tsunami waves. They hit so randomly. No fair warning, ever. Like when our songs come on the radio that we used to obnoxiously sing( think Tom Jones and Diana Ross, those were our jams)! When I wander through Target and see a darling young mom, her kids and her own mother browsing the aisles. When I see pictures on Facebook of mother/daughter trips to fun places, exploring together. When I hear my friends complain about their “annoying, intruding mom.” When I’m riding the struggle bus of adulthood and can’t figure out how to get off. When I’m constantly second guessing my motherhood skills, my wife skills, my friend skills or my job. When I’m unsure of myself, my worth or my talents.

I can’t even tell you what I would give to be able to pick up the phone and hear her say “I love you Annabelle (that was what she called me). What I would give to have one of her famous pep talks. She left me way too soon. I got married without her here, I gave birth to two amazing kids without her here, I have celebrated without her, I have endured heartache without her. I have lived a good portion of my adult life without her. I feel like I need her most now. I find myself rummaging through old boxes and pictures looking for her. To feel her and find her presence in any thing. I stare at my kids searching for her. I thank God everyday for my babies, It’s the one place in which I have found her. Her eyes, her smile and her personality. So much of that has been given to them. They are 4 and 6 years old and are curious and have never ending questions. “Where’s your mom?” “Why did she have to go live in Heaven?” “What did she look like?” “Why was she sick?” I don’t have the best answers for them because I don’t really know why but it opens the door for us to talk about Grandma Connie all the time. It gives me the path to share her because I’ll be damned if they don’t know the amazing, fabulous G-ma that they would have run wild with, eaten junk food with and belly laughed with.

I will continue to trust that all of this is part of the plan. A plan that is greater than mine. He knows best and always will. I know for a concrete fact that God gave me 25 loving years with her and I’m forever grateful for that. The memories she left me with are deeply imprinted into my heart and brain. She was everyone’s friend, the woman that wore a cape under her dress (true super gal) she was the constant encourager, the supporter, the glue that holds it all together woman. Basically, she was everything to me and my brother. So, on days when we celebrate our Moms, I don’t get to shower mine with brunch or gifts. If she were here, I would be making her crispy bacon, hash browns and toast with butter. No eggs, she hated eggs. Coffee too, with cream. She loved her coffee. Oh and black licorice, she so loved that. Yuck, right? But she loved it, so you bet she would be getting it. So instead of all of that, I’ll share her spirit today, tomorrow and all of the days in between. I’ll relish in our time we had. I’ll hug my kids so tightly just for her. I’ll thank God for the women He has put in my life that have lifted me up since the day she left. Today, I’ll smile as I know she is shining down, so brightly. Today, I’ll work to make her proud and If I close my eyes long enough I’ll see her beautiful, perfect smile and I’ll hear her whisper “I love you.” I encourage you to dig deep inside and pull out those sweet memories and share yours with those that matter most. Our memories are the best gifts our Mamas could have ever given us. My deepest love to all of you that are missing yours today.

  

In Memory of Connie Cordrey
June 30, 1958-December 29, 2007

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Empty Arms on Mother’s Day

May 8, 2017

By Megan Boss, Guest Blogger

For those of us living with infertility, holidays are hard. But Mother’s Day is definitely the most difficult. Honestly I wish I could just wipe the day right off the calendar. I’ve spent what seems like a million years dreaming of being a mom, but instead that dream fades away each and every year. No tiny handprint gifts, no homemade cards, no breakfast in bed for me once again this Mother’s Day.

My husband and I have spent all of our married life trying to make our dream of becoming parents a reality.  It’s something we’ve both wanted since childhood. It was actually one of the things that attracted us to each other, both wanting a big family, a house full of kids. After about 8 months of just “relaxing and seeing what happens” we made an appointment with the OBGYN. She told us to give it 2 more months then she would recommend us to a specialist because of my age. (Insert eye roll here.) So there we were, 10 months and still no sign of Baby Boss. It’s official, we’ve been formally put into the INFERTILITY department.

10 months may not seem that long, but we just knew something was not right. We had an appointment with a specialist. We sat awkwardly in the waiting room trying not to stare at other couples. We tried the horrible clomid pill for a couple of months- nothing but hot flashes, night sweats and tantrums. We did an IUI (Intrauterine insemination)- nothing and plus that was really awkward. After some additional testing we learned that my ovarian reserve is very low. This told us that we should move on to IVF sooner rather than later.

IVF Round 1 we thought was a for sure thing. We were told there is about 50-60% chance of pregnancy with IVF ( I know…why is not 100%?) How do you spend $20,000 and not come home with a baby? We had appointments every other day. The waiting room became more comfortable. We were the “experienced couple” in the waiting room now and had a little fun picking out all the newbies just starting out or watching someone’s husband awkwardly turn in his sperm sample (Dude-we know what’s in the brown bag you are trying to hide in your jacket!). We really got to know all the staff at the infertility clinic…it was starting to be like a second home which…well it’s kinda depressing 🙂

We retrieved 17 eggs, 14 of those eggs were mature and 9 of those eggs fertilized. 3 of those eggs made it to day 5 to freeze. We transferred 1 egg in May (Mother’s day actually- we thought that was a sign) that egg did not implant. We still remember that phone call. We were shocked, so confused and so very sad.


In July we transferred our second egg and…PREGNANT, just in time for my birthday even though that sadly ended in a miscarriage after 8 wonderful weeks of being “parents”. We went through another emotional roller coaster of feeling shocked and so let down. We transferred our 3rd and final embryo in October. The 3rd time was not the charm for us. No implantation took place.

So just like that, we were out of embryos, and we lost a little bit of hope and faith. Parenthood seemed so far away. Going through infertility is a huge rollercoaster ride. You grieve the loss of what could have been, yet you have so much hope, then that hope is taken away from you and ends up returning a little later. The thing is though…you can’t just give up. How do you let go of the thought of not having a baby when that is the one thing you want more than anything in the world?
As another Mother’s Day approaches, the pain is very much real. Infertility is a loss. It’s the loss of a dream, it’s the loss of a family you thought you would have. Yes the handprint gifts, the # 1 Mom mug and the breakfast in bed would be fun but obviously I crave so much more than that. I crave having a little one who depends on me and who needs me, a daughter or son who thinks the world of me. I want the privilege of raising a little human, I want to teach him or her right from wrong, manners, morals, reading and writing. My heart wants all of that.


Although Mother’s Day is another reminder that I am not a mom, I can’t hide under the covers all day. I have to celebrate the ones I love who are moms. I have to keep the hope that one day my babies will come. Instead of crawling in a hole and crying all day, here are 5 ways to Survive Mother’s Day:

1. Celebrate the Moms in your life. Celebrate your Mom,Grandma or bestie who has little ones. Personally, I am so thankful for my mom. She has been with me every step of the way. If this seems to difficult, just send a card or a nice message and let them know you’re thinking of them.
2. Perhaps avoid massages, manicures or spa treatments around Mother’s Day.  This last weekend I got a facial. When it was done, the lady said, “ Happy Mother’s Day. You’re  a mom right?” I could have made that real awkward but I kindly just said thank you. I am a mom to a cat and an angel baby so I will take it, but it’s the assumption that is hard. If you go get any treatments done that weekend, be prepared for a lot of unintentionally hurtful comments.
3. Take a Social Media break. No doubt there will be tons of posts on Facebook, Instagram etc etc of Mother’s Day celebrations. My advice…you just have to stay offline for the day so those posts don’t trigger painful and raw emotions.
4. Keep busy. Do something that makes you happy. Gardening, puzzles, reading, hiking, take a day trip ect. Keep busy so your mind doesn’t overload with negative thoughts.
5. Netflix and Chill. It’s okay to stay home and cuddle up all day. Binge watch your favorite show, shut the windows, turn off the lights, eat junk food and do what you need to do. As my TTC friend always says “there is no rule book for grief.”

Going through infertility on Mother’s Day plain sucks and it’s going to hurt like hell. It’s going to hurt like Christmas hurt, like Easter hurts and so many other days, but I am not alone. I will survive like I always do because I am a warrior and I have hope that one day I will be celebrated on Mother’s Day!

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