Our amazing event venue sponsor, Brick Canvas is the place that just keeps on giving! You can read more about why you HAVE to visit their spa, by viewing this post on wellness. I love to do their hot yoga classes a few times per week and massages at Brick Canvas are top notch quality! Make sure you pamper yourself wherever you are (all the time, but especially during pregnancy!) For those who are local to Utah, I asked Brick Canvas if they could share a promotion with my readers and they did! Click through for a chance to save 15% on your Bravado Bra today.
It can be hard to find a spot in the community that feels like home! A place we can go to be women, to be individuals, and to replenish and regenerate all that we give day-in and day-out as mothers. Somewhere we can meet other women who are in the same stage of life and are also striving to be mindful about how they live and how they love. As Moms or Mom-to-be, it’s so hard to make time for ourselves, but it’s so necessary for our physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Taking time out to fill our own cup actually allows us to be more present and give more love to our families. It doesn’t have to be a big deal or take all day. Here are a few ideas: take a 20-min walk around your neighborhood, take a warm bath, take a yoga class, schedule a massage, or meet a girlfriend for lunch. Today I’d love to share more with you about what I’ve discovered in this local wellness community, especially the salon and spa because that’s every Mom’s favorite anyway! Read through to find some exclusive promotions for Lactation Link readers.
Breastfeeding, like many aspects of motherhood, is a universal phenomenon that can connect us to other mothers. This week, during World Breastfeeding Week, we are talking with moms from around the world about their experience breastfeeding. We hope you can feel connected to these moms and know that we are all doing our best to provide the best start for our children. Enjoy!
I am so excited to be the Guest Editor over at Brickyard Buffalo today!
Brickyard Buffalo is a website designed to help you shop your favorite brands on a budget. They curate the trendiest items out there for a price you can afford. They work with ‘Guest Editors’ to help find great products and this month I’m lucky enough to have picked out some of my favorite shops and products to be featured for you to shop at a discounted price!
Here are a few of my picks!
Hi mamas! I’m Kristin Gourley, IBCLC. I’m a mom to 5 and lactation consultant with Lactation Link. I’m here today to debunk some myths about what not to eat when breastfeeding and if you need a breastfeeding diet. Thanks for stopping by!
Mothers from cultures all over the world have been breastfeeding for, well, forever. Many cultures have unique foods that would be considered anything but bland. These babies thrive even when their moms eat these flavorful foods, so we know it’s not something that needs to be universally avoided.
Today we are so happy to have Dr. Conway from Utah Fertility Clinic answering common questions about infertility. Dr. Conway is board certified in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility; Obstetrics and Gynecology.
What is Infertility?
Infertility is the inability to conceive after a year with regular intercourse with no contraception.
How long after trying to conceive unsuccessfully should I see a doctor?
Eighty-five percent of couples will conceive within a year. Thus, any couple that’s been trying to conceive for a year should be evaluated to find out if there are any identifiable problems. For women 35 and older, it’s prudent to only wait 6 months before seeking an evaluation, because egg reserve goes down over time and a shorter timeline into treatment can be helpful.
What kind of Doctor should I go to first?
Seeing your Ob/GYN may be a reasonable first step. You need three things: 1) health eggs, 2) healthy sperm, and 3) a normal reproductive tract, for pregnancy to happen. Your workup should include checking for ovulation, a semen analysis, and evaluation of the reproductive tract with an ultrasound and usually a procedure called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) or ‘dye test’ to check for tubal patency. If you feel you are not getting a thorough workup, it is never too early to go straight to a fertility specialist for an efficient workup.
What is the process of treating infertility?
Because a specific diagnosis can be made in about 85% of couples, we treat the underlying problem. If a woman is not ovulating, medications can be given to restore normal monthly ovulation. If the sperm quality or concentration is low, treatments called intrauterine inseminations (IUIs) are performed to wash the sperm and place it through the cervix so it get’s a ‘jump start’ to the top of the uterus, right at the time of ovulation. Seventy five percent of our patients can be treated with these less aggressive options. In vitro fertilization is reserved for couples with more severe male factor, issues involving scarring of the fallopian tubes, or if the less aggressive treatments are not successful. This option is more expensive but for most couples is highly successful.
What things can I do on my own to increase my fertility?
Working on physical and mental health can empower couples to optimize their chance of conceiving with or without treatment. For instance, women that are above or below their ideal weight will have more ovulatory problems and a harder time conceiving. Optimizing body weight with diet and exercise will help you to get pregnant faster. In fact, a moderate amount of weekly exercise has recently been shown to be excellent for fertility, regardless of weight loss. Think of a ‘Mediterranean diet’ when working on nutrition, incorporating more vegetables, protein, and complex carbohydrates. Make it a lifestyle change instead of a ‘crash diet’. Last but not least, add stress-reducing activities into your weekly routine. If that includes exercising with your spouse, even better!
What can I do to offer support if my friend is going through infertility?
If you know someone is struggling with infertility, offer a listening ear and words of support in private. Feel free to ask how they would like to be supported, since every person’s coping with infertility may be different. Make sure to ask them about the many other important aspects of their life, as a reminder that the infertility they are experiencing does not define them as a person. If they cry, seem distant, or even offended, cut them a little slack. The grief experienced over infertility is complex, but a little love and compassion will go a long way.
What are your favorite thing about the families you work with?
It is a privilege to support couples through such an emotional and personal journey. I cannot imagine a more rewarding job than helping couples build their families, and in a way, impact their lives forever. I walked into our procedure room to do an egg-retrieval a few weeks ago and this is what I saw written on the bottom of my patient’s socks:
I love getting to know my patients during their treatment (but not too well, since I want them to conceive quickly!), and my goal is that no matter what the outcome, each patient has the best experience possible.
Top 3 tips to navigating the infertility treatment process
- Remember IVF is not the only option: though it gets the most media attention, most of our patients are able to conceive with less aggressive and less expensive options.
- Be your own advocate: get the answers you need to know what you are up against, so you can make an informed decision about what’s best for you.
- Take care of yourself and your relationship: find stress reduction through a new hobby or diversion. Support each other emotionally, and remember to do activities together other than trips to you fertility doctor, which can sometimes feel like a full-time job!
Over those years I learned a lot about infertility and a lot about myself. While it was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through, and I worry about going through it all again, I wouldn’t change it. I have learned so much about dealing with heartache, difficulty and how to help others going through trials.
Today I will be sharing my top 5 misconceptions about infertility
- JUST RELAX…IT WILL HAPPEN.
This is the most common and hurtful comment women struggling with infertility receive. Infertility is a disease. Can you imagine saying “just relax and you’ll be cured” to a person diagnosed with heart disease, diabetes or any other illness? No. That is because most people don’t recognize infertility as a real disease. Infertility is created by a variety of real illnesses including but not limited to Endometriosis, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Uterine scarring, and Varicoceles.
This misconception that relaxing will cure infertility is also hurtful because it insinuates that infertility is mental. If someone has ever told you to relax, what has it done? I can probably guess that it didn’t make you relax, but probably just made you worked up. Infertility is a disease that rears it’s ugly head everyday. It is not something that can easily be forgotten. Women have monthly physical reminders that they are not pregnant and are often receiving treatments, have weekly doctors visits, blood draws, pills and shots to remind them.
Next time someone you know tells you they’re struggling with infertility, the absolute best thing you can say is “I’m so sorry. That is so incredibly hard”. Validating that what they are experiencing is real is very comforting and supportive.
- WHY DON’T YOU JUST ADOPT?
I had this question so many times! And I think it is definitely one of the most misunderstood aspects about infertility.
People would ask me often, “why don’t you JUST adopt?”. Oh how I would LOVE to! I LOVE adoption! But it’s not JUST adopt. Adoption is not a simple process like most people assume. Adoption is often more emotionally trying than infertility treatments. Many adoptions fall through at the last minute or birth mothers change their minds. It can be incredibly emotionally hard. Also, filing out paperwork, getting home studies, creating a blog, website or scrapbook of photos, and then waiting to be chosen by a birth mother is often a long process. Adoption is also, more often than not, considerably more expensive than fertility treatments.
So while so many of us with infertility would just LOVE to adopt, it is not as easy as it might seem. We are educated on our options and will choose to go down the path of adoption if we feel that is what is best for us.
- MAYBE INFERTILE PEOPLE JUST AREN’T SUPPOSED TO HAVE CHILDREN
Or something similar, like, “Maybe God has another plan for you.”
Sometimes it is confusing to me why this is ever said. If you were to translate this question to other medical diseases it would sound a little bit like this “Maybe you were meant to die of cancer, so why do chemo treatments? Maybe God had a plan for you to spend your life in a wheelchair, so don’t bother with that prosthetic.”
Medical advances exist so that people can live better, longer and happier lives! Why is the disease of infertility one that shouldn’t be treated?
- YOU ALREADY HAVE KIDS, YOU’RE NOT INFERTILE
Another misconception about infertility is that you can not suffer from it if you already have had children. This is not true and is referred to as Secondary Infertility.
This infertility diagnosis is often the result of complications after a previous birth or can have no cause. Secondary infertility is extremely difficult for the couples experiencing it, and should not be minimized simply because they already have a child or children.
I have experienced secondary infertility first hand but in a different way than most. My parents had me without issue, but then experienced secondary infertility. The ache I felt for a sibling was real and I watched the pain of my parents as they wanted nothing more than to give me that sibling and to have another child.
- INFERTILITY MEANS IVF
Actually, fewer than 3% of couples struggling with infertility will need to do In-vitro fertilization. There are many less invasive treatment options!
Fertility Specialists (Reproductive Edocrinologists) recommend you see them if you are under 35 and healthy (regular periods) and have not conceived after trying for 12 months. And for those over 35, to visit a specialist after trying for 6 months.
A big misconception is that you need a referral from your OBGYN to see a fertility specialist. For most Reproductive Endocrinologists you can just call their office and schedule an initial appointment. Initial consults often just involve some diagnostic work and questions.
Well, those are what I believe to be the top misconceptions about Infertility. I hope that you were able to learn something new about a disease that affects so many!
Hello mamas! We are sharing different women’s infertility journeys this week for National Infertility Awareness Week. We are so happy to have Jess from Positively Oakes Blog here today to share her infertility journey and how to help a friend struggling with infertility.
When I was a teenager, I sat in the doctor’s office gown and all waiting for her return. I was close to 17 and still hadn’t started my period, so tests were being ran, things were being looked at and honestly I remember not caring much. The only thoughts in my mind were, can we get this show on the road? I have places to be, a boyfriend to hang out with and whatever else. I was a teenager, what did I care if I didn’t have a period? The doctor walked back in, with a serious look on her face. She said, “It looks like you have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.” Oh, okay, great. My Mom has that, no big thing. Then she proceeded, “It’s a little bit worse than the average case and I just want to prepare you and let you know that, you’re most likely going to have trouble getting pregnant, if you even can at all.” I remember the thought coming into my head, well, that sucks. Honestly though, again, it didn’t really hit me that hard. I was young, children weren’t a priority at that point and well, my Mom had gotten pregnant, so eh? Whatever.
Fast forward many years and there I was, having the discussion with my future husband, only this time with tears streaming down my face and an awful pit in my stomach. “I just wanted to let you know, I might not be able to have babies. I totally understand if this changes things, I’m so sorry.” He wrapped his arms around me and just held me. It didn’t change anything, he loved me just as much and that feeling of peace in that moment, I clung to that.
Shortly after getting married, we decided to go ahead and just not necessarily “try” for a baby, but not stop it either. We knew the odds weren’t in my favor, so we figured why not just leave the possibility open and put it in God’s hands. Before I knew it I was becoming obsessed with it. A year into it and I found myself taking pregnancy tests every, single, month. Now I longed for a baby. I wanted a baby so badly, we both did. He was about to be done with school in the next month, our lives were starting and it seemed like everyone around us was pregnant or starting their family. Every single time I saw that negative test, again, my heart ached. It hurt so incredibly bad, I felt broken. Like something was wrong with me, why was my body broken? Why did he marry me? I couldn’t give us a family, my body couldn’t do the one thing that it was meant to do.
He graduated college and we decided it was time to start putting a little bit more effort into it. We met with a fertility specialist, did a whole lot of testing and then the journey really began. I thought I was in pain for that year before…I was in for a rude awakening. The next few years proved to be some of the hardest of my life, still to this day. The doctor started us on a low dosage of fertility medication, we did that for a few months, blood work twice a month, ovulation kits and everything in between. A few months later, it still wasn’t working, so he upped the dosage. Two months of that, still no luck, so he upped it one more time, this time to the highest he could go. Still, nothing; not one single positive ovulation, not one single good blood result, a whole lot of negative pregnancy tests, all negative. I hurt, I was in so much pain. How much more of this could I take? All the blood work, all the medication making me a crazy person, all the hormones, negative test after negative test, I couldn’t do it. This was too hard of a trial, this wasn’t fair, why did I get this? Why did every single person around me get to have a baby? Why did people younger than me get to have TWO babies already and I couldn’t even have one?!
During all of this we moved back home to Idaho, my heart still broken and my mind feeling more lost than ever. We met with a new doctor, transferred all of my medical history and took a month break. My body just couldn’t handle it anymore, I was 25 and having hot flashes, mental breakdowns, I was literally on an emotional rollercoaster. The bills were piling up, the more we had to do costs just kept getting higher and higher and I found myself pleading with God every single night, begging him for a baby. We continued on with more fertility treatments, all failing, then a new medication, again, no luck. Then finally, we met with a doctor to start IUI. I went in for the initial testing, blood work drawn, you know, for the 300th time (no joke). I went home from that appointment at my wits end. I was done. I couldn’t do it anymore. I remember balling, literally just crying my eyes out to the point where I couldn’t breath, where I had to pull over because I couldn’t see anything.
The phone rang, it was a number I didn’t know so I didn’t answer it. I was in the middle of a crying session, I didn’t have time to deal with a phone call. Up popped a voicemail, I pushed the play button with my shaking, tired hands and set it down on the console on speaker phone. It was the doctor’s nurse, she said, “Jessica, will you please call me as soon as possible?” Great — now what? What the hell else can go wrong? Am I totally broken? Is this not even a possibility? I reluctantly called back, asked for the nurse then sat there on hold for what felt like forever.
“Yes, this is me.”
“So I got some of your bloodwork back and I’ve got some news for you..”
“Okay, what is it?”
I couldn’t breathe, I literally dropped the phone my hands were shaking so much. All I could say what “What? I’m what?” to which she confirmed excitedly, “YOU’RE PREGNANT!” That was the happiest day of my life. I hung up the phone and sat there, still crying, only this time the happiest of tears. It was a miracle, our miracle baby.
She was born July 3, 2015 and I’ve never felt a love like I do for such a small little human being. I can’t even describe how happy she makes me, how in love I am. She’s perfect, she’s all ours and she’s honestly a miracle.
Now, she’s almost two and here we are facing the same infertility battles for a second time, only this time worse than before. I had complications shortly after having her, which required a small procedure, but made it even harder than before to get pregnant. We’ve met with specialist after specialist and this time have been told I’ll only be able to get pregnant with IVF. So here we are, the same feelings, the same disappointments, only a little more challenging than before. As much as it sucks and as hard as it is though, I just have to remind myself of the miracle baby we already have. We’ve been sharing this journey though through YouTube and my blog and honestly, it’s been therapeutic for me. Infertility isn’t something that people talk about enough, it’s one of the loneliest things, no matter how many people you have around you. So we’re sharing our journey, talking about everything and keeping things totally raw and real.
One question that we get asked a lot, is how do you help someone going through infertility? So I thought I would quickly answer that as a final thought. Every, single, person going through infertility is going to react differently, they’re going to want something different as far as support and their situation will be unique. Don’t generalize their circumstances, don’t downplay it and just listen to them. Be there for them to talk, to cry to or to just take their mind off of everything. Be sensitive of the things you say and don’t make things awkward. We know what we’re going through, it’s generally not a big secret, but we don’t know how to handle it any better than you do. Just love them, support them and pray for them.
Today kicks off National Infertility Awareness Week. We want to join others in spreading awareness, hope, and fostering support for those who have been affected by Infertility.
To start, we have partnered with KC Film and Photo to create this amazing video with some wonderful Moms from our community to show just a little bit about the journey of infertility. Each story is different and unique. Take a minute to watch it and then share it to touch others! The more it is shared the more awareness we can bring! Motherhood is something every woman deserves to experience! If you’ve been affected by infertility and feel comfortable, we’d also love to see you get involved with this campaign by sharing on social media a little about your journey. Tag us @lactationlink and use #lactationlink #LL1in8 so we can repost!