20 things I’ve learned after 20 months of infertility

1. I’m thankful that I have a child and that my infertility is considered secondary.

2. Secondary infertility (the inability to bear a child after you’ve had one or more) accounts for more than half the cases of infertility in the U.S.

3. Statistically, infertility is just as often caused by an issue on the man’s side as it is on the woman’s.

4. Shockingly few health insurances cover any fertility services at all.

5. I’m embarrassed by how many times in the past I ignorantly asked a couple when they were “going to have kids” or when they were “going to have another baby.” Don’t ask people that.

6. Savor the wine when you have another negative pregnancy test. Silver lining?

7. Some ovarian cysts are good! Eggs come from follicles which are actually cysts in your ovaries.

8. Despite what they imply in health class, if fertility is optimal, you still only have about a 20% chance of conceiving.

9. Other people’s pregnancy announcements are better on Facebook than in person. If it’s on Facebook, you can click “like” and mostly ignore it. If the announcement is in person, society expects you to smile and say, “congratulations,” even if you feel like someone just punched you in the gut. (EDIT: I truly appreciate the women who have pulled me aside and told me privately that they were pregnant, so I knew before the big announcement. This is totally okay, and your compassion means a lot to me.)

10. If twins run in your husband’s family, that has absolutely no bearing on whether or not you’ll have twins. Sorry, no, it doesn’t.

11. Fraternal twins are caused by hyper-ovulation (two eggs are released). Most often, medication causes this.

12. Identical twins are completely random and by chance. One egg is fertilized and then splits into two.

13. I’m thankful I’ve never had a miscarriage.

14. I’m aware that my son may always be an only child, and I worry about the disadvantages. Is he lonely? Is he spoiled?

15. I’m aware that if my son is our only child, he’ll have more opportunities than if he had a sibling. We probably couldn’t afford to put two kids through private swim lessons instead of group lessons.

16. “Your follicles look nice and ripe” isn’t weird to hear anymore.

17. I’m one “When are you going to have another baby?” question away from responding, “When my ovaries and uterus work.”

18. I’ve lost count of how many people have seen me naked from the waist down. Skirts are great.

19. The lab technicians recognize me when I walk in the door.

20. I have a really awesome little boy, and I am so thankful every day that God blessed me with him.

 

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Changing my diet

I think when a lot of people use or hear the word “diet,” they think of a short-term calorie or food restriction plan to lose weight. In this case I’m talking about changing my diet -permanently- for health reasons. I’ve mentioned before that my parents were health “nuts,” before it was trendy. I grew up without sugar or salt in the household. If I remember right, I was 9 years old when I had my first chocolate bar (soooo rich that I had a stomach ache!). When I grew up and moved out of the house, I still had the knowledge that my parents had given me on how to cook and eat healthy, but because of a busy work schedule and the single life, I started to eat poorly.

When I got married and had my son, my husband and I made the decision for me to stay home. So for 2 years I spent a considerable amount of time in the kitchen, cooking healthy meals from scratch for my family. Then I went back to work, and the processed foods entered our lives again. It’s been a struggle the last few months. For the most part, we have still eaten healthy meals, but we’re not doing as well as I’d like. I’d say we’re eating about 60% healthy meals and 40% not (that would be processed foods, fast foods, etc.). Well, maybe it’s better than that…but I want it to be 80% healthy (at least) and 20% not, and I know we’re not at that point.

On top of that, my best friend was diagnosed with lupus and started an autoimmune protocol (AIP) diet, which is similar to Paleo, and that got me thinking. I don’t have an autoimmune illness, but I am genetically predisposed towards them. Environmental factors (like diet) along with genetic predisposition can trigger an autoimmune condition. Talking to my friend and reading articles online (albeit, many of them are anecdotal…so there’s that to consider), I’ve decided to avoid certain foods, specifically, refined sugar, corn, soy, and wheat. Instead, we will eat a mostly plant-based diet with lean meats. If I actually had an autoimmune condition, I would avoid legumes and nightshade plants, but since I don’t…I’m just starting with the foods I listed above. I’m also continuing to eat dairy products and eggs.

Healthy, healthy, healthy

One challenge I face is cooking vegetables in a way that both Hubby and Little J will actually want to eat! Below is a photo of curly kale boiled in half water/half chicken stock, chopped onions, chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper. I thought it was tasty, but they were not impressed. 🙁 Well, one day at a time.

And now I’m off to work on my shopping list!

Do you have any dietary restrictions, because of choice or necessity? What are your go-to healthy food choices? Or maybe some foods you try to avoid?

Note: The opinions reflected above are mine and may differ from yours. Before making dietary changes, please always consult your physician first!

 

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Review: SckoonCup

I need to start today’s post with a warning. I’m going to talk about menstrual cups, “Aunt Flow”, and girly parts. So if you’re a dude or sensitive to TMI subjects…you may want to read a different post!

Read my review on the SckoonCup, a soft silicone menstrual cup.

Menstrual cups have actually been around for decades. In fact, the idea itself has existed since at least the 1800s, but the cups just haven’t been popular in North America. There are two basic kinds of menstrual cups- disposable and reusable. The SckoonCup is reusable, which is very cost-effective. As far as how often you have to buy a new one, I had trouble finding that information on their website. I do know that many women use the same menstrual cup for several years before replacing it.

I’ve been using menstrual cups for well over a year now. Other than a couple of hiccups in the process, I’m very happy with my experiences. The first two or three cycles, I had to get into a routine of taking care of the cup, emptying it when not at home, etc. I found it a little messy at first, but now I’m a pro…I think.

Another plus- menstrual cups hold more blood than tampons. On my heaviest days, I have to change a tampon every 30 minutes for a few hours straight. When using a cup, I can go an hour before the cup is full. And there are different sizes of cups too.

Many moms cloth diaper their babies, because they feel that cloth is healthier for their little ones and better for the environment (read more of my thoughts on that HERE). I’ve noticed from browsing blogs and mommy forums, it seems that same train of thought is leading more and more women to using menstrual cups and cloth pads. It is true that unlike tampons, menstrual cups have never been linked to Toxic Shock Syndrome. Additionally, since the cups collect blood instead of absorbing, the cups won’t have a detrimental affect on your natural vaginal moisture.

Read my review on the SckoonCup, a soft silicone menstrual cup.

I’ve found cups to be very convenient when exercising, especially when jogging at the park. When I’m trying to travel light, I really don’t want to carry tampons too.

(^Side note: Okay, I haven’t tried the Sckoon pads yet, but from the cloth pads I’ve actually tried…I have yet to find one that worked well while running. If you’ve tried a cloth pad that doesn’t move around while working out, I’d love to hear about it. Message me, please!)

The brand of cups I had been using is made with natural rubber (latex), so when Sckoon sent me one of their silicone cups, I was very curious to discover the differences, if any. I immediately realized that the silicone cups are much softer and easier both to insert and remove.

Once the cup is properly inserted (see more about that below), it’s comfortable, and I can’t feel it.

I’ve only discovered one downside to the SckoonCup, but fortunately, it’s an issue I can fix and may not be a problem for someone else. Because it’s such a pliable cup, it’s easy for me to insert the cup too far. The way my cervix sits during my cycle, it’s easy for the cup to end up against my cervix, which then causes me painful cramps. I can tell immediately when this happens, and all I have to do is adjust the cup a little lower, and I’m fine. This only happened once with my old rubber cup, when I physically pushed it in too far. It’s happened several times with my SckoonCup, because it naturally seems to just pop up there.

So if you’re new to menstrual cups, just be aware that this can happen to some women. If you start getting unusual, painful cramps, it could be you need to adjust the cup.

If you’ve tried a cup before and had trouble with it leaking, it could be that the cup wasn’t the right size or shape for your body. Or perhaps you need to try different methods of folding and inserting it, to ensure you get a good seal. You can always ask your doctor about your cervix, to get an idea of where it’s exactly located. So don’t give up, if a cup doesn’t work for you right away!

To learn more about SckoonCup, visit them on their social media accounts. You can find details on how to care for a menstrual cup there, as well as sizes and pretty colors to choose from.

Note:  SckoonCup provided a sample of the product mentioned in this post, for review purposes. I was selected for this opportunity as a member of the Green Moms Network, and the content and opinions expressed here are 100 percent my own.

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