Archives for category: Doctors

First of all I must say that I have really, really, really missed writing!  However, I found myself unable to bring myself to write about anything on this blog for a long time and that was basically due to MY JOURNEY TO BABY #2!  I have always been a very openly honest person, which is part of the reason I started writing this blog, but almost two years ago I had quite a scare that I didn’t want to discuss with many of the people I know, let alone publicly write about.  I have to admit I have a hard time closing myself off, but I stayed guarded due to one major issue that disrupted mine and my family’s life, a fertility issue.

Well, at first I actually didn’t know it was a fertility issue, and it certainly doesn’t have to be one either.  What happened to me happens (unfortunately) to countless women all the time, I miscarried.  Let me start at the beginning…

Back in the early spring of 2013 my husband and I decided it might be time to casually “try” to conceive again.  In the past when we had tried to get pregnant with Juliette it took 11 months, so I wasn’t expecting it anytime soon.  So, when just a few months later I missed a period I thought “hmmmm, that’s interesting, could I be pregnant?” At first I almost didn’t believe that it was happening and thought maybe my period was just late.  Also, since Juliette wasn’t even 2 yet (she was just about a month away from 2) I was a little worried.  I thought I had always wanted one out of diapers before I had the next and my husband and I thought we wanted closer to three years between our kids.  But hey, we decided to not use any birth control, so we knew it was possible.  Well, turns out I was, in fact, PREGNANT and we were both shocked and thrilled all the same time.  The shock wore off after a few days and then we were just very happy.  We had only told a few close family members and friends just to be safe and we had a wonderful first three weeks in July 2013.  And then toward the end of July that’s when it happened, a day that I won’t forget, the day I had started to bleed.  I almost didn’t want to believe it when it happened and I know that some women tend to spot sometimes, especially this early on.  Later on that day the bleeding got worse and after about a week of coming and going to doctor’s office and some pretty intense cramping and pain (some pains worse than even labor pains) I found out I miscarried at almost 8 weeks along.  We had never even heard a heartbeat or seen the baby; I just had a thick lining and yolk sac, and while I was actually pregnant nothing got further than that and my body got rid of everything by itself.  We were in shock the first few days and after the pains went away the emotional baggage that came with it got worse.

I haven’t experienced a whole lot of loss in my life, so this really shook me up.  Having my supportive husband, my beautiful daughter and my parents around helped, but on the inside I was a mess.  I know they say that when this happens it’s actually a good thing that something went wrong and things didn’t grow properly, so the baby wasn’t meant to be.  Knowing the facts about it all though did not help me.  Soon after this after we had my daughter’s 2nd birthday party and doing all the planning and prep work for that helped to distract me.  But, honestly just looking at my daughter, watching her, and telling myself I already had one child, and that some people go through this with no child at all did help a little bit.  I’m not going to lie though; I was in a pretty dark place for a while and probably should’ve sought some therapy.  Being a stay-at-home mom didn’t always help either, because while I got to spend so much time raising my daughter, I didn’t have an actual place to go to, a place to escape from it all.  Having a place to work outside of the home probably could’ve helped more too.  Everything like that was just a distraction though.  I kept thinking “why was this happening to me?” “did I do something wrong?” “did that extra glass of wine or cocktail I had when I didn’t know I was pregnant make this happen?”.  I would express these questions to my doctor and she assured me that none of this was anything I actually did, but again that didn’t really help me either.  We went on vacation at the very end of the summer and that helped out, but that fall was probably one of the hardest times of my life.  These were the things you heard about happening to people, the things you never actually thought would happen to you.  I kept asking myself a number of questions: Was I being too greedy wanting another child?  Was 32 too old to have another child?  Some people are never even able to get pregnant or have children, why do I feel so awful?

It’s still painful and think and write about.  I began to feel a little better in the late fall as the holidays approached and I got more involved with the world around me, not just with my daughter, but doing things for myself, which we should do more of as mothers anyway.  After the holidays came and went I tried having a better attitude about things and even succeeded most of the time.  The heartbreak was still there, but now I was all consumed with the thought of getting pregnant again.  For a while when my period came I would get very mad, but then I realized ok it just may take some time.  By the time spring had rolled around I was feeling much more like myself again and found myself purchasing many ovulation kits to help get the ball rolling with baby number two.  Then in May 2014, it happened!!!  I got pregnant again, and we were thrilled!  I think I was just so happy to know that yes, I can get pregnant again and things will be ok.  Or will they?

I was very nervous about being pregnant and we didn’t tell anyone this time, well actually I only told my Mom and Dad, my husband didn’t even tell his parents, and we didn’t tell any friends.  This was extremely difficult to keep to ourselves, but it was what we felt was right to do.  Unfortunately, right around 6 weeks along I started to bleed again.  I was devastated!  This was happening again?  Really?  Again? Why??? I immediately called my husband tormented and hysterical, and thank God Juliette was napping because I wouldn’t want her to see me that way.  After I called him I called my doctor, and we went in the next day and although my husband, God bless him, was trying so hard to be positive, I was just so down, I knew something wasn’t right again.  At the doctor’s visit we found out I was in fact, miscarrying.  I had only a thick lining, no sac, no baby.  So, technically I was pregnant, my body wanted to be but something prevented things from growing further.  They actually call this a ‘chemical pregnancy,’ which I had never even heard of, but is apparently a common thing.

This time I wasn’t in utter despair though, I had been through worse, since this was earlier the pain and bleeding weren’t as bad and mentally I didn’t feel great but I knew one thing for sure, I had to find out if something was wrong!  My doctor left it up to me to go see a fertility doctor or try on our own again, because while this is not completely uncommon for a woman to miscarry twice I knew I couldn’t put myself through this again, I had to know if there was a problem.  My husband and I really wanted to expand our family, to have at least one more child and to give Juliette a sibling.

So, after about a month I was feeling positive again and took my first trip to the fertility doctor.  I was very anxious and curious and the doctors I went to were awesome!  They treated me like gold, which I guess they should do, as they weren’t cheap and not every bill was covered on our insurance.  After explaining to my amazing new fertility doctor what I had gone through, the changes in my menstrual cycle, (sometimes they were very short), looking at all of our medical records and my age and the fact that I already had one healthy child, she had a hunch as to what my problem was.  She thought it might be something that she said was “easily fixable,” something called “luteal phase defect.”  They throw so many terms about your reproductive system at you at first and it’s so hard to take in and fully understand, I ended up doing a lot of research.  Before she could diagnose me with that defect though she had to make sure through much blood testing for both my husband and myself, ultrasounds for me on certain days in my cycle, and checking my husband’s “sample” to rule him out as well.  After about 5 weeks of all of this, I found out that my doctor was right, I did in fact have luteal phase defect, which is not the worst issue to have, and it basically has all to do with my cycle.

Here’s the short version of what exactly luteal phase defect actually is, “it’s a disruption in a woman’s monthly menstrual cycle.  The luteal phase is one stage of the menstrual cycle. It occurs after ovulation when the ovaries release an egg and before your period starts. During this phase, the lining of your uterus normally becomes thicker to prepare for a possible pregnancy.  With this defect, the lining of your uterus does not grow properly each month. This can make it difficult to become or remain pregnant.”  And from what they told me with my cycle at least, this wasn’t serious because some months I had a very normal cycle and some months I did not.  This is why I had very short cycles some months, and one of those months happened to be the last time I had gotten pregnant and things didn’t grow properly.  They also thought I may have had this for a while, even when I was trying to get pregnant with Juliette, because it took 11 months on the one that I got pregnant with her it must have been a good month.  There are certain reasons you can have this defect, but since I didn’t have any of those symptoms I didn’t exactly have a “real reason” why.  I actually didn’t find the “why” part frustrating, because all I wanted to know was how to fix it.  And how did I do that? Basically they fix it with hormones.  Well, right after diagnosing you, they have to monitor your cycle very closely and give you certain hormone injections to take based on how your cycle is doing that month.  So, the first month I was being monitored I actually had a semi normal month and only needed a very small dose of a hormone called Ovidrel to help stimulate the growth of my follicles that help you prepare your eggs for ovulation.  I did not end up getting pregnant that month, and didn’t really expect to, as I knew it may take a little time.  I was hoping it wouldn’t take forever, as these doctor visits and injections weren’t cheap, plus our family was more than ready.  The second month I couldn’t take any hormones or be monitored because I was going on vacation at the very beginning of my next cycle, and they had to monitor my hormone levels.  So, I asked my doctor if it was ok that month to try on our own.  She said of course it was, that these hormones can only help with the growth of everything, they can’t prevent a miscarriage, they can just try to help you to stay pregnant.  She said my cycles are not always the same so it wasn’t a harmful thing to do, and so she left it up to me.

So, my husband and I decided to try on our own again just for that month and hope for the best, as my cycle were already starting to get a little longer and more regular.  And believe it or not, THAT WAS THE MONTH WE GOT PREGNANT AGAIN!  I found out on October 1,, 2014, but I had a hunch that I was because I had already had a lot of symptoms, many of which I did not have with my previous two pregnancies that ended up in miscarriages.

We were overjoyed!!!  We didn’t want to jinx anything, so again we only told our parents.  From that point on I started with the fertility doctor and after a few weeks they turned me over to my OBGYN because so far my levels were all going up and everything seemed to be going well, especially because I was soooo sick!!  Don’t get me wrong, I was extremely happy to be feeling so sick, sore, tired, and basically have every first trimester symptom you could think of in the book!  Well, I was at first anyway, haha!  October and November were rough months.  I felt so sick, tired and barely able to eat anything all through the day and the worst part was at night!  I had night sickness, lol.  This made taking care of my crazy little active three-year-old daughter very difficult.  Other everyday things were tough too, like making meals, cleaning, staying awake, etc.  Luckily I am not one who vomits much, but at times I almost wished I was just to have some relief.  I just kept reminding myself of how hard it was to get here and how all of these symptoms are a very good thing and they will pass.

Our eight week doctor visit was especially thrilling for us, as thankfully we saw an actual little tiny baby growing inside of me for the first time since my daughter!  We were soooo nervous upon arrival and felt soooo much better when we found out there was a little peanut in there!!

Soon after, another month passed and we were get ready to host Thanksgiving, and I was starting to feel a lot better as I was 12 weeks along and moving into my second trimester.  Plus, we had planned to tell all our loved ones on turkey day and were very excited to do so.  However, we were faced with yet another hiccup.  Nothing serious yet, no miscarrying…but as I was preparing food for the holiday on the day before Thanksgiving, a genetic counselor called me with results from my first trimester blood screening a few days before.  She said no need to worry (yeah right, then why are you calling) but your risk of Down Syndrome number came out a little higher than we would like for someone your age.  Apparently, for a 33-year-old I should be testing as 1 in 250, and my number came back as 1 in 110, which they told me was normal for a 38-year-old but not for my age.  Breaking it down, this meant my risk of having a baby with Down Syndrome went from 1% to 2%, and it’s just purely a screening, it’s not for certain.  This doesn’t seem like a big difference, however, we were very worried because we had already been through the ringer, we felt like the wind had been taken out of our sails.  Everything had been so great up until this point during this pregnancy and now although she said it wasn’t a serious issue yet, that really didn’t give us much comfort.

After agonizing over it for the rest of the day as we tried to finish our cooking and baking, my husband and I decided to take the high road and continue to be happy and positive.  They told us to come and speak with a genetic counselor after the holiday.  So, we carried on and didn’t worry anyone and tell them about this issue, but instead decided to share the good news of the pregnancy.  Everyone was thrilled and we were too, but that number was still in the back of our minds.

So, the following Monday came and we met with the genetic counselor and she showed us the charts of our number and explained other further testing options, if we wanted to take them.  Again, I am the kind of person who needs to know, not that I would do anything about the pregnancy if something wasn’t right, but my husband and I both wanted to know what we would be facing.  So, instead of getting a CVS or an amniocentesis we decided on a newer option, a non-invasive prenatal blood screening.  This new screening “uses cell free fetal DNA from the plasma of pregnant women which offers tremendous potential as a screening tool for fetal aneuploidy.” What does this mean?  Haha, I didn’t quite understand either, how I can explain it is that basically a lab takes a crazy amount of blood from me and tests the particles of the baby’s DNA floating around my bloodstream, crazy right?  Yes, but noninvasive, meaning no needles, no risk for miscarrying, and has extremely high accuracy rates.  A bonus to this is that not only do they test for all of these diseases you’ve never even heard of, but they do genetic testing and chromosome testing, so we would also find out the gender of our child upon results.  The counselor said that it would take a week to get our results, a week and a half tops.  Well, of course that was incorrect, IT TOOK THREE WEEKS.  Three very long, stressful, holiday-prepping, emotional three weeks.  When they finally called of course Juliette was napping and I was in the shower.  I answered with shampoo in my hair and cried tears of joy for the first time EVER while showering!  Everything, I mean everything was absolutely fine, our results couldn’t be better and less risky, I must have thanked the woman on the phone 100 times.  Then she asked if I wanted to know the gender, and I tearily said, (as I had a hunch the whole time of what the gender might be) “It’s a boy, right?”  She responded, “Yes it is!”  Halleluiah!  Not only were we healthy, but we were having a boy, which I was so happy about and my husband was thrilled, as he really wanted one of each sex.  It didn’t matter as much to me, but I always said it would be nice to experience each gender.  And now we would.  I felt like I could walk on water, I called my husband and my mom and we were all so relieved.  I must’ve said Thank God in the shower about 80 times.  We had a very Merry Christmas following that, and as I moved into the second trimester, and our little miss learned she was going to be a big sister to a healthy little brother, we felt more than blessed!

I continue to feel so very blessed, as I’m in my last week of the second trimester, week 27 of my pregnancy.  I feel him moving all the time and every time I do I feel a little high come over me.  What’s the moral of the story here?  DON’T LOSE HOPE!  Be faithful, we finally got our positive outcome after a year and a half of loss and heartache.

There are so many fertility issues I learned about while on this journey, so many women, friends, family members, etc. that I bonded with through this experience and some of these people had much more difficult obstacles to overcome to conceive their child/children. I wish them all the best, as I wish anyone trying to conceive who is having difficulty to try to hang in there.  There are so many treatments out there now I hope you are able to find one that works for you!  I can now state that I feel a lot more educated, wiser, incredibly lucky and grateful, and a lot more grown up, with my very first few gray hairs on my head to prove it, haha!

We’ve been through many ups and downs on this roller coaster ride to get to baby #2, but we are beyond delighted to be expecting a little baby boy due on June 9, 2015, which is funnily enough also our 8th wedding anniversary.  This has been very therapeutic to finally share with people and I hope it can give others out there hope who might be struggling or those who have children already feel all the more appreciative to have conceived.  Thanks for reading and I’m excited to be posting again as I have many, many ideas I’ve been taking notes on for over a year and a half now!

~J

*(The facts I quoted about luteal phase defect and the noninvasive blood screening were from The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Genetics and Web MD)*

Part 2- And so it begins…

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You might ask why did I choose the South Beach Diet?  Well for one thing, it was easy for me as I already had the book at my disposal.  The second thing was that my sister did it and had such success with it; therefore I knew she could be my touchstone for any diet related meltdowns, queries or questions.  And while I know there are various diet options out there and you don’t necessarily need a DIET to lose weight…I decided that I did, IN FACT, need it.

As I mentioned in Part 1, I always made sure my daughter ate so healthy, why wasn’t I doing this for myself?  I know many people have great success with Weight Watchers, but the problem I saw with Weight Watchers was that I didn’t want to join a “program” (not that you have to join the program part of it) and I didn’t want to have to count anything (I don’t like math).  So, January 2, 2013 my diet began!!!

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I was very prepared for it, almost looking forward to it in fact, and I have to say it was also NOT quite as hard as I expected.  I had read the book so many times and I had semi-started following it in December, so believe it or not I was actually excited to start the diet!!  Even with all of the holiday junk I ate in December I had felt results working already, and that kept me very motivated.  I became even more motivated when I actually saw results on the scale. I went out and bought myself a scale for the first time in my life and weighed myself religiously every morning.  Most women hate to weigh themselves and once I started to gain weight I became one of them.  However, on this diet I was seeing such wonderful results that as soon as I woke up in the morning to the lovely sounds of my daughter humming and babbling in the next room, I gave my husband a good morning kiss and hopped out of bed to go weigh myself.  January 2 was my D-Day, my “Diet Day” where it all officially started!  I hopped onto that scale that morning and saw that just semi following this diet in December I had already lost 6 pounds!!!  Even with all of the holiday food, I couldn’t believe it…needless to say I was extremely motivated as I saw that weight go down!!!

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What’s this diet all about?? I will give you a quick run-through…The South Beach Diet is a diet plan designed by cardiologist Arthur Agatston and dietician, Marie Almon.  The original purpose of the diet was to prevent heart disease in Dr. Agatston’s real patients.  But then in the early 2000s, word of the diet spread so quickly and gained such popularity, that he wrote a book on it.  I believe the South Beach Diet philosophy is relatively simple to follow in principle as it replaces “bad carbs” and “bad fats” with “good carbs” and “good fats.” What does this mean?  I will explain…

The diet is divided into three phases, with each progressively becoming more liberal, or easier if you ask me.  Phase 1 is the first two weeks of the diet (unless you decide to stay on it longer) and in my opinion is the hardest phase of the diet.  This phase eliminates all sugars (which I as very afraid of), processed carbohydrates, fruits, and some even higher-glycemic vegetables as well. And how can I forget…during Phase 1….NO ALCOHOL!!  But hey, I gave up alcohol for nearly 10 months while pregnant, so how hard could two weeks be?  Well, it was HARD, for some reason, maybe that precious little fetus growing inside of you makes it easier to give up alcohol while pregnant, go figure!  The main purpose of this phase is to get rid of the hunger cycle you are in.  And it really does, although I will say the first 4 days of this phase are pretty tough, and you feel your stomach churn missing your old food, but after a few days, you get used to it, and your stomach stops making weird noises that sound like “feed me.”

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I found it so liberating to see such wonderful results in such a short period of time.  I lost the bulk of my weight during this phase, and you know what’s really awesome?  You see the weight melt off on your STOMACH first, and the continuing motivation was seeing the scale number go down every morning!  During Phase 1 I lost about a pound a day, sometimes more, making my total weight loss during phase 1, 15 pounds.  My goal was to lose 30 pounds total, and since I had already taken off 6 POUNDS in December and had lost 15 on Phase 1, my total weight loss already was 21 pounds, so I only had 9 pounds left!!!  I was thrilled, but did not want to get ahead of myself.

What was the most difficult part????  Switching to a sugar substitute was very difficult, even for someone like me who does NOT have a big sweet tooth, it was just hard to get used to that “fake sugar” taste.  I tried Splenda, Stevia in the Raw, and Truvia.  Truvia I thought had the best taste and it was actually considered to be a “natural” sugar substitute, so that is what I stuck with.  (Now it is months later and I actually prefer Splenda, but mostly now all of them taste the same because I am used to them) Taking bread out of my diet I wasn’t as worried about, because while I do love bread, I thought it was only two weeks right?  Well maybe not, slices of bread themselves, and rolls and such were easy to give up…the difficulty was that I began to realize just how much bread is in so many things!!!  Or I guess I should say how much flour is in so many things! Regular white flour is just empty calories, it is delicious but it is truly that.  Now I read the ingredients and nutritional facts on all foods before I buy them.

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A fun part was I began to make new recipes everyday, which I found to be exhilarating too.  Not only was I feeling better physically, but also feeling better mentally.  I had three meals a day, and two snacks (if I needed it) and a dessert after dinner, all south beach approved of course.  My whole self felt better and even my back pains were diminishing, leaving my visits to the chiropractor almost non-existent.

Moving onto Phase 2, there is no real timeline here for Phase 2, it basically continues as long as the dieter wishes to lose weight. It re-introduces most fruits and vegetables and some whole grains as well.  I welcomed the things I could reintroduce to my diet, plus you can have wine again!!!  YAYA!!!  However, while I was on Phase 2 for four weeks, I hit a plateau.  It was so awesome to see the weight drop so quickly during phase 1 that I got a little discouraged during Phase 2 as the weight was coming off much slower…I know, I know it takes some people years to lose the weight they want to lose, but it was tough to hit the point where your weight stayed the same or you barely lost when you are on a diet, as losing the weight was what motivated me the most.  As a result, after four weeks of Phase 2, I decided for one full week I would go back to Phase 1 to try to lose those last remaining few pounds quicker.  And this actually worked!

In two months (8 weeks exactly) of strictly following the south beach diet I lost 26 pounds, and adding those 6 pounds I lost in December (just loosely following it) brought my total weight loss to 32 pounds!!!  I was so proud of myself!!  I was able to fit into ALL and I do mean ALL of my old clothes again.  This was very exciting, but as many of those old clothes were out of date and some were actually even too big, I had a new problem, a nice problem to have, but still hard nonetheless (unless you rich), I needed more new clothes that fit properly.  Now, here comes the other hard part…the maintenance!

The maintenance is where I am now and well that’s what they designed Phase 3 of the diet for.  That’s why this diet is so brilliant!  Phase 3 is the maintenance phase and its supposed to last for life. There is no specific list of permitted and prohibited foods. We are expected to take what we have learned and apply it to our life without any guidance.

How am I maintaining my 32 pound weight loss?  Part 1 told you how I arrived at the decision to go on a diet, Part 2 explained to you all about the diet and how much I lost and now stay with me for the final part… Part 3, where you can learn all about what exactly it was that I ate on this diet to get me to my goal weight!!! Read Part 3 here: https://juliettesworldblog.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/part-3-the-final-frontierwhat-exactly-did-mommy-eat-on-this-diet/

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Got milk???

Ahhh the joy of spending $30 a pop on a tub of formula…did we really have a choice in the matter though?  Actually we didn’t after a rough first 8 weeks with Juliette.  It’s a great debate…formula vs. breastmilk, and I have to admit I believed that breast was best.  My daughter did get breastfed at least for a little while, not as long as I had hoped, but there was reason for that.

Let’s back up a bit here, I believe in a woman’s right to choose in many ways.  Now, I am not going to go out on a limb (like Mr. Bloomberg did) and decide to take away formula from any place, but I will say that choices are there and they are made for a REASON, not just for convenience.  Unto the whole nursing issue, I was so very excited preparing for all of the things motherhood brought upon me, and one of the most important things was my ability to breastfeed (and my bigger cup size too might I add).

When I first started to breastfeed Juliette it was not easy as I had hoped, but I told myself that it was going to be ‘ok,’ I wasn’t expecting it to be.  A nipple-shield helped a lot at first, especially with that precious “liquid-gold” colostrum that comes in those first few days.  Then, as the milk came in, the shields were used less as Juliette latched on much better.  Unfortunately though, this is not where the story ends.  I so wish I was like one of those women who easily popped their baby on their boob and delightfully fed them on each side.  I envied those women!!  This was not the case for me…the first problem was, Juliette never seemed full, and was also quite colic after almost a week at home with us, especially at feeding time.  After one very worried trip to the ER, many pediatrician appointments, a meeting with a lactation consultant, and joining La Leche League, I began to also pump my milk.  They all agreed that, most likely, our somewhat discontented newborn wasn’t getting enough milk or and when she was, she wasn’t getting it fast enough.  Every new mom will learn that all babies lose weight once they come home from the hospital, but she wasn’t gaining any and loosing too much.

I admit that it was frustrating, (not to mention those very, very sore and leaky nipples to boot), and I was quite worried and felt somewhat inadequate.  But, I would not be defeated!!!  So, after her feedings, I would pump, then hydrate, try my best to replenish my insatiable hunger, and by the time this process was done I was left with maybe 15 minutes or perhaps 25 minutes, (if I was lucky), before her next feeding.  So, there I was exhausted, feeding her directly from the breasts, then offered her some from the bottle with pumped milk (if she was still hungry), then burped her (she was a very tough burper), followed by pumping, eating/drinking for myself, and then having barely any time left to do anything for myself, like brush my hair or go to the bathroom.  Still, I was not giving up, I was determined to do this.  By her next doctor’s appointment she seemed to be getting enough now, however she had begun to spit up a lot more and was having an even harder time burping.  On top of that, she still hadn’t gained much, but (AH-HA!) something was working because she hadn’t  lost any weight!  Unfortunately though, due to the gassy, non-burping and constantly spitting up baby Juliette had become after just a few weeks, they suggested changing my diet.  So, I gave up dairy first, which wasn’t too bad.  My husband stocked us up with many new types of food for my diet, after a week though, still no change, so then they suggested to try to soy free diet.  Well, I really feel very badly for anyone who can’t eat soy, because it’s in almost EVERYTHING!!  This diet was hard, but I pressed on and kept at it, sent Steve to the store almost daily to find something to eat that way soy free and filled me up…but still no change, and a lot more crying and spitting up.  Next up, I tried a soy and dairy free diet, this was the hardest one, but I was doing this for the better of my child, so I still didn’t give up!  Much to my chagrin though, no change with Juliette.  She was not so happy at feeding time especially, and the poor thing couldn’t keep anything down.  I went back to my regular diet and just exclusively on the breast and she would cry and cry and cry and not even want to eat.  What was happening?  Was she self-weaning already?  What did she want?  It was so hard to tell!!  Would there ever be a resolution to this?  Will I ever enjoy my new daughter?  Why can’t I just feed her my milk?  Bottle or breast is best?  Why does she cry every time she is nursing?????  So many questions and I NEEDED ANSWERS!!!

Finally, after six long and stressful weeks of this…she was diagnosed with ACID REFLUX, and with the right formula and meds, she was like a new baby!  I couldn’t believe it!!!  Why didn’t we know this before?  Apparently it is VERY common, and my younger sister and mother-in-law even had it when they were babies…who knew?  Finding the right formula and meds wasn’t easy either, and I even kept trying to sneak in my pumped breast-milk too, but every single time I did, she puked and had a sour stomach.  Plus, because as this point I was just pumping, my supply was going down.  So, I finally and unfortunately stopped breastfeeding after 8 weeks of putting my all into it!  It was very sad day for me, and I shed many tears over it, but no one could say I didn’t try, because I did everything I possibly could.  My loving husband was very supportive of the fact that I had to stop, and he was my biggest supporter through all of this.  In conclusion, I did not have a choice but to give up nursing my baby, unless I wanted to make her sick everyday…I think NOT!

I started to enjoy Juliette so much more, and from that moment on there was stress here and there, but nothing so bad that we couldn’t handle it.  Burp cloths, bibs, and wipes became my new best friends, and burping every 2 ounces was much better for my hard to burp baby.  As she became an adorably happy and, might I add, very full baby, who by her third month was in the 95th percentile for weight, and has stayed around that same mark since, we knew we did the right thing for her.

So, trust me, they made formula for a reason, not just for women who chose not to breastfeed (which if you chose that too, I have no judgment there either because breastfeeding, even if it agrees with them, is serious business), but it was also made for those babies who couldn’t be exclusively breastfed.  It was a long road, and once she started solids her acid reflux kept getting better, her spit-ups diminished, and she now loves practically all food.  Skip to the present time…today was her last day of her beloved soy formula, which took us so long to find the right one after those six weeks.  Today it’s all whole milk.  This was a 3-week milk  project, adding more whole milk and less formula every week…and I was quite nervous about it, because of all her problems feeding in the beginning, but I am happy to report that so far, so good!

So, all you new moms hear me out- DO NOT be too hard on yourself, if for whatever the reason, you can not breastfeed, because you do have choices.  I tried my very best, and still do hope to be able to breastfeed (for a longer period of time) with the next child, when that time comes.  But when that day does comes, if it doesn’t work out I am not going to be too hard on myself, because I have a very happy and healthy baby now.  And if you are successful in breastfeeding easily, congratulations to you, I am very jealous!

Got milk?  Yes, we all do, but it comes in many different shapes, forms, sizes, and brands, and yes you do have the right to choose!  Please remember that ladies, your baby’s health and happiness comes first, and don’t be too hard on yourself like I was…it’s unnecessary in the end! J

PS: Any questions about acid reflux, feel free to ask me anytime!  I had a hard time finding enough information out there about it, and while I’m no expert, I can try my best advice to help.

It’s such a fantastic and quite gleeful statement to spread around, “We are trying to have a baby!!!”  Little do you know, that statement will come back to bite you!  Trust me, it will, unless you are one of those women, and I know them too, who have an unplanned pregnancy or go off the pill and are pregnant a mere week later.  That was not I, not this time around anyway.  I’m that girl who always dreamt of having a baby and being a Mom, I believe this is one of the roles I was born to fulfill.  I’ve known this ever since I was five years old and would willingly help my Mom take care of my little sister with any of the many baby tasks.  So, Tara you are really to blame for my baby fever!  My husband always knew this about me too, as I would constantly remind him, “I need to have a baby before I am 30!”  So the moment my well-to-do and responsible husband decided we were financially secure enough to give it a go, you better believe we jumped on it, pun intended.  And although it was not as easy as I had originally thought it would be, we just made the cutoff…I was 36 weeks ‘preggers’ and just about ready to pop when I had just turned 30.

A brief back-story is needed here: I had to switch gynecologists since we had moved to a new town, and had taken a referral for a new nearby doctor, without first looking into it myself…MISTAKE!  I’ll save the whole story for another day, but I was misdiagnosed and that misdiagnosis caused much unnecessary stress to both my husband and myself for many months.

So there we were, trying for many months. I had this weird misdiagnosis, was very stressed, and after a few tearful talks with my husband, we finally stopped ‘trying’ and just went back to ‘having sex’ and ‘tried’ to stop worrying about it.  It was actually quite a relief, as I stopped charting my ovulation schedule and we just went back to our regular lives, so to speak.  The last tearful breakdown I had was somewhere around Halloween 2010, when I had thrown myself into my work and didn’t even think much about getting pregnant anymore.  Funnily enough, by Thanksgiving I noticed my sense of smell increasing : the turkey scent I always so enjoyed kind of made me nauseous.  I also had a few times on my way to work when I had to pull over and spit out some of my daily tea, plus my boobs hurt so bad I couldn’t even sleep on my stomach anymore, and on top of that my period was 10 days late.  I finally came clean about these symptoms on that 10th day to my husband,  (I didn’t tell him sooner because I didn’t want to jinx it!), and he ran to the store to get a pregnancy test!

While I was waiting, I called one of my friends who was just about to have a baby, and another friend who already had a little one.  They both were excited and said all signs pointed to yes, but they also told me, (which I already knew, but like my husband, I was just so excited!), that it was best to take those tests in the morning…something having to do with urine being easier to read in the morning.  Anyway, Steve got home and I ran to the bathroom to take the test, and I had one solidly clear pink line, and the other (as you need two lines to be pregnant) was there but it was a much lighter pink, not invisible, but not as dark as the other.  Now, I had taken these before but had never seen two, just one, so this was a good sign, right?  How were we supposed to know??  I was skeptical and gave my friends both a call back to which they both told me again all sign point to yes and to take it in the morning, however this time to take the DIGITAL test!!!  It was more expensive, but it would be worth it.  Well, Steve ran back out and we waited until morning, don’t ask me how we slept, because we didn’t get much as both of us were ridiculously smiley that whole night.

I woke up 10 minutes before my 5:00 a.m. alarm just glaring at the clock, for once gladly awaiting that sound most of us hate to wake up to.  My little mini dachshund dog, Layla, always gets up with me, she goes outside first and then I go to the bathroom.  Alarm went off and I happily threw on my coat and boots and took Layla out, I practically skipped back in and she must have known something because she was very quick outside for once.  I’ve never been so excited to pee in my whole life!!  I peed onto the strip and waited for the longest moment of my life…which led to the happiest moment of my life! (At that point, at least).  My shaking hand finally got still when that digital test read “Pregnant.”  AHHHHHHHH!!!  We, (both Layla and I), jumped into the bedroom and onto the bed to wake Steve up with the good news: it had finally happened, we were going to have a baby!!!

We were both blissful all morning and it was so hard to keep it to myself at work.  I looked for a new OBGYN online during the little bit of free time I had at work and found one I seemed to like, and called to schedule an appointment, luckily they fit me in the next day!  I called my parents that morning, as did Steve.  They were all so happy for us, and I told my sisters (who both adorably cried) and my two closest friends on my way home from work.  It was a wonderful day, as was the next when it was confirmed that next morning at my new doctor that I was in fact, scientifically and all, PREGNANT!

So, take my 4 pieces of advice if you are planning to have a baby:

1) Don’t go on and on to people about the fact that you are “trying” 

2) Find your own doctor that you can trust and feel very comfortable with

3) Be patient, I know it is hard, but some women get pregnant after a week, and for some it may take years, for me it took 11 months

4) Save yourself a lot of time and energy and take only the digital pregnancy test, as it is the most accurate…and while you are at it try to hold off and take it in the morning, because it’s the best alarm in the morning that you will ever hear!