Feb 7, 2017

Top Tips For Expectant Dads, From A Dad.

OK soon-to-be first time Dads, listen up!  This post is for you guys who haven't had the pleasure of experiencing the most anticipated week of your life so far.  The dreaded 7 days before 'ole fat-guts' explodes and pops out your brand new son or daughter.

I reckon that most of you would agree that we tend to take a backseat to this whole pregnancy thing...we've silently dealt with 9 long months of strangers wanting to rub the wife's guts, quietly shuffled through miles of 'Babys R us' aisles buying crap, eaten the vilest of organic tofu dinners, taken time off work to sit in a doctors office while the wife does a $400 pee, slept lonely on the hardest of sofas and assembled the most ridiculously difficult cribs, toys and damn strollers. Geez!  But in the last 7 days or so, something primeval happens in the back of our minds and we realise that shit is becoming real - then we panic a bit.

"Crikeys...I'm actually gonna be a DAD!  What the Hell do I do now?"

Dec 3, 2016

Preggies! DO NOT Take This For Granted, You Will Miss It!

15 Things I Took For Granted Before Becoming A Parent

Who knew a child would not only turn my life upside down, but make it look like it too?! Needless to say, I love my incredibly spirited toddler and I most certainly love being a mother and I wouldn't trade it for anything... 


The kid is a tiny tornado! He never stops going. On the days the little tornado reaches F5 status, I can't help but think about how much I miss the time when...

  1. ...the back seat of my car didn't look like a child snack buffet exploded on it.
  2. ...leaving the house in less than five minutes was actually doable.
  3. ...I had regular play dates with MY friends.
  4. ...I didn't wonder every time I pick up my tooth brush if it's been used to clean a Hot Wheel
  5. ...I could eat cookies, candy or chocolate without having to hide it from a candy crazy little person.

Thinking of Having Kids? Do this 11 step program first!

Thinking of Having Kids? Do this 11 step program first!
(I wish I could take credit for this, but a good mommy friend emailed it to me on Friday.  I thought what better way to start the week than with a laugh!  Happy Monday Everyone!)

Lesson 1

1. Go to the grocery store.
2. Arrange to have your salary paid directly to their head office.
3. Go home .
4. Pick up the paper.
5. Read it for the last time.

Lesson 2

Before you finally go ahead and have children, find a couple who already are parents and berate them about their...
1. Methods of discipline.
2. Lack of patience.
3. Appallingly low tolerance levels.
4. Allowing their children to run wild.
5. Suggest ways in which they might improve their child's breast feeding, sleep habits, toilet training, table manners, and overall behavior. Enjoy it because it will be the last time in your life you will have all the answers.

Lesson 3

A really good way to discover how the nights might feel...
1. Get home from work and immediately begin walking around the living room from 5PM to 10PM carrying a wet bag weighing approximately 8-12 pounds, with a radio turned to static (or some other obnoxious sound) playing loudly. (Eat cold food with one hand for dinner)
2. At 10PM, put the bag gently down, set the alarm for midnight, and go to sleep.
3. Get up at 12 and walk around the living room again, with the bag, until 1AM.
4. Set the alarm for 3AM.
5. As you can't get back to sleep, get up at 2AM and make a drink and watch an infomercial.
6. Go to bed at 2:45AM.
7. Get up at 3AM when the alarm goes off.
8. Sing songs quietly in the dark until 4AM.
9. Get up. Make breakfast. Get ready for work and go to work (work hard and be productive)

Repeat steps 1-9 each night. Keep this up for 3-5 years. Look cheerful and together.

Lesson 4

Can you stand the mess children make? To find out...
1. Smear peanut butter onto the sofa and jam onto the curtains.
2. Hide a piece of raw chicken behind the stereo and leave it there all summer.
3. Stick your fingers in the flower bed.
4. Then rub them on the clean walls.
5. Take your favorite book, photo album, etc. Wreck it.
6. Spill milk on your new pillows. Cover the stains with crayons. How does that look?

Lesson 5

Dressing small children is not as easy as it seems.
1. Buy an octopus and a small bag made out of loose mesh.
2. Attempt to put the octopus into the bag so that none of the arms hang out.

Time allowed for this - all morning.

Lesson 6

Forget the BMW and buy a mini-van. And don't think that you can leave it out in the driveway spotless and shining. Family cars don't look like that.
1. Buy a chocolate ice cream cone and put it in the glove compartment. Leave it there.
2. Get a dime. Stick it in the CD player.
3. Take a family size package of chocolate cookies. Mash them into the back seat. Sprinkle cheerios all over the floor, then smash them with your foot.
4. Run a garden rake along both sides of the car.

Lesson 7

Go to the local grocery store. Take with you the closest thing you can find to a pre-school child. (A full-grown goat is an excellent choice). If you intend to have more than one child, then definitely take more than one goat. Buy your week's groceries without letting the goats out of your sight. Pay for everything the goat eats or destroys. Until you can easily accomplish this, do not even contemplate having children.

Lesson 8

1. Hollow out a melon.
2. Make a small hole in the side.
3. Suspend it from the ceiling and swing it from side to side.
4. Now get a bowl of soggy Cheerios and attempt to spoon them into the swaying melon by pretending to be an airplane.
5. Continue until half the Cheerios are gone.
6. Tip half into your lap. The other half, just throw up in the air.

You are now ready to feed a nine- month-old baby.

Lesson 9

Learn the names of every character from Sesame Street , Barney, Disney, the Teletubbies, and Pokemon. Watch nothing else on TV but PBS, the Disney channel or Noggin for at least five years. (I know, you're thinking What's 'Noggin'?) Exactly the point.

Lesson 10

Make a recording of Fran Drescher saying 'mommy' repeatedly. (Important: no more than a four second delay between each 'mommy'; occasional crescendo to the level of a supersonic jet is required). Play this tape in your car everywhere you go for the next four years. You are now ready to take a long trip with a toddler.

Lesson 11

Start talking to an adult of your choice. Have someone else continually tug on your skirt hem, shirt- sleeve, or elbow while playing the 'mommy' tape made from Lesson 10 above. You are now ready to have a conversation with an adult while there is a child in the room.

This is all very tongue in cheek; anyone who is parent will say 'it's all worth it!' Share it with your friends, both those who do and don't have kids. I guarantee they'll get a chuckle out of it. Remember, a sense of humor is one of the most important things you'll need when you become a parent!

Breastfeeding is not Plug-n-Chug!

Breastfeeding can be a complete and utter bitch! At first. By no means is the process conducive to baby + boob= plug-n-chug. There are so many speed bumps on the road to enjoying breastfeeding that it can seem near impossible. At only 3 1/2 months into breastfeeding, I cannot really say I thoroughly enjoy it. I'm just happy I can do it now without it totally sucking. (Pun intended!)

Thankfully my son latched right on about 20 minutes after birth. Unfortunately his latch and my technique were not so great at first.  By day three my nipples looked and felt like they had been through a meat grinder. Thanks to “cooling gel pads” I was able to power through those first days, no actually weeks, of beat up boobies.  Seriously, if you don’t own gel pads and you are in pain GO BUY THEM! Lansinoh and Medela make them. I personally prefer the Medela ones, but both will return your nipples and areola to working condition in 24 hours!

For me the first 8 weeks were just awful!  Breastfeeding became nature’s cruel joke on me. It was nothing but painful, frustrating and the constant work at keeping my supply up was beyond overwhelming. Without my husband's coaching and cheerleading I would have probably given up.

Having a low milk supply, especially for a mother intent on not supplementing with formula, is terrifying.  I rented a hospital grade breast pump, The Medela Symphony for $78 a month, to help keep my supply up. For the first 8-10 weeks I was having to feed and then pump for ten minutes afterwards to help increase my supply, or if nothing else just maintain it. Now I don’t go more than 5 hours without nursing or pumping to keep my supply optimal and my breast from engorging. Yes, even at night and the wee hours of morning.

Because of all the hard work I take so much pride in saying my son has been exclusively breastfeed.  Now that both my son and I have got the hang of it, the process is finally Plug-n-Chug. What’s more, we have gone from 45 minute to an hour feedings to only 20-30 minutes at a time.  I also try to enjoy the down time while nursing, meditate and relax. It’s not like I can get up and do anything until he is finished, so no reason to worry about what else I could be doing.

Make no mistake about it, breastfeeding is a full time job at first. Still, decades of studies prove that the benefits COMPLETELY outweigh the trouble, pain and difficulty. If you want to breastfeed then set your mind to it. Rent a hospital pump and work at it, be patient it takes on average 3-4 weeks to get the hang of it, and then another 2-3 months to achieve the plug-n-chug status.  I am so incredibly proud of myself for sticking with it, and over coming the pain, tears and sleepless nights. I have created a great foundation of health and wellness for my son that will last his lifetime. If you can do it, do it! Your child deserves the best chance at life possible.

Dec 2, 2016

Creating a Family Your Way: Routes to Follow When the Beaten Path Leads Nowhere

Creating a Family Your Way: Routes to Follow When the Beaten Path Leads Nowhere

If you are reading this article, you probably know that starting a family is not always an easy process. There are many things beyond our control that can make it difficult and it can be frustrating, even heartbreaking, when you can’t get pregnant. If you have struggled with infertility and have attempted several fertility treatments that haven’t worked, you may be looking into finding an egg donor. But where do you start, and how do you select an egg bank? In this article, we’ll discuss all the details you’ll need to know.

Getting Started

Once you decide that you want to go the route of using donor eggs, you will first need to find a donor. It is recommended that you also undergo counseling and speak with a lawyer. Here’s a little more on what that entails.

  • Find a Donor

First, consider whether you will choose eggs from a family member, friend, or an anonymous donor. Should you decide to use donor eggs, you can find a donor through a frozen egg bank, fertility clinic, or an egg donation agency. You’ll have the choice to pick the donor based on factors such as educational record, physical characteristics, occupation, and ethnic background.

Most egg donors are around 21 to 34 years old and have completed a genetic and medical screening. Make sure you ask what the donor is screened for, because some clinics do less testing than others.

  • Undergo Counseling

Once you have chosen your egg donor, you (and your donor, if not using an anonymous one) should get counseled on the emotional, medical, and ethical sides of the donation. This is just to help you to prepare for the impact that comes along with egg donation which people may not foresee. It helps to make the process more comfortable for everyone and helps to prepare you for what is to come.
  • Get Legal Support

It is smart to have lawyers write a contract that will define financial obligations, parental rights, and future contact. Laws can vary by each state, but egg donors typically give up their rights to children. On the other side, a legally-binding contract is encouraged for parents and donors who will want to keep in touch after the baby is born. If you are choosing a donor through a fertility clinic or frozen egg bank, these contracts will usually have been drawn up by the organization already.

Fertility Treatment

When it comes time for the actual fertility treatment, there are a few steps you will follow depending on the route you decide to take. Here is what you can expect:

  • Syncing Cycles for Fresh Donation

If you are choosing to use fresh donor eggs, you and the egg donor will take a synthetic hormone and birth control pills to get your cycles in sync. This is because your uterus must be able to support the embryo when the donor’s eggs are retrieved and fertilized.

  • Gathering Eggs for Fresh Donation

When the donor’s eggs are mature, she’ll get an anesthetic before having the eggs removed with a needle. During this process, the doctor uses an ultrasound as a guide.

  • Thawing for Frozen Eggs
If you are using frozen eggs, there is no need for the above steps. The eggs have already been retrieved and frozen, so you will only have to worry about your own cycle.

  • Fertilization

The fertilization procedure involves sperm from a partner or a donor being combined with the eggs in a laboratory. Once the eggs are fertilized, they become embryos. After a few days, the embryos become blastocysts.

  • Transfer

Because of the high risk of a multiple pregnancy, only one or two embryos are transferred to the uterus. If the treatment is successful, the embryo implants into the uterus and the baby will continue to grow.

  • How Long Does the Whole Process Take?

If you are using fresh donor eggs, the fertilization process can take several months, including prescreening, egg retrieval and cycle synchronization. If you are using frozen eggs or embryos, the process will take about six weeks.

Becoming a Parent

The decision to go ahead with egg donation means that you are choosing to become a parent. Even though the baby may not be from your own genetic material, you are still deciding to bring this life into the world and will carry it just as you would a child from your own eggs. You will be the parent and your infertility struggle can be put behind you. You may face questions from others and may have questions for yourself that you aren’t sure about yet. That is okay. All expectant mothers have their anxieties about coming into motherhood and raising their child right, and much of it works itself out in time. Enjoy the miracle that you are able to bring the child into the world. If you would like further emotional support, you can also get in touch with a counselor to help you through the process.

Now you know the basics on how you can create your family through the use of donor eggs. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask in the comments below.