Sunday, 29 May 2011

Think You're Showing Signs Of Secondary Infertility?

When you begin to wonder if you are showing the signs and symptoms of secondary infertility it is easy to become overwhelmed. The reason being that there are many ingredients involved in a successful conception. One of the most frustrating things about secondary infertility is that you won't know if you or your partner is infertile until you visit a doctor. There are several medical tests that your Doctor can do to detect secondary infertility. There are also methods and products that the doctor can prescribe to help in conceiving another child. 

One routine procedure a doctor can perform is to test the cervical mucus. Cervical mucus plays an essential role in conception, as it enables the sperm to make it all the way to the egg. The sperm are unable to do this if there is little or no cervical mucus present. Another factor involving cervical mucus is that it could be too acidic. It is necessary for the mucus to be alkaline. If it is acidic, it will kill the sperm before they reach the egg.

When a doctor checks the cervical mucus, he/she will look at the whether it is clear or curdled. If it is curdled, there is little to no chance of conception. If the mucus is clear and somewhat sticky, chances of conception are good.

Develop a thick skin. Your family and friends won't understand the rawness and depth your desire to have another baby unless they too have suffered from secondary infertility. If you are trying to get pregnant after 30 then you should see your Doctor immediately as the chances of conception begin to decline soon. You will be referred to a fertility specialist and can begin exploring options and experimenting with treatments almost straight away.

Before you start to think about the possibility that you or your partner might be infertile, make sure that you have been having unprotected (natural method) sex over several months, or as long as a year. Conception can and often does take a long time, even for couples who have been able to have other successful pregnancies. It's not unusual for a couple may have unprotected sex for 8 or 10 months before conception takes place. 

Be patient, if you still haven't conceived after this period of time, ask your doctor for what steps you should take next. Try not to worry - stress is a huge obstacle with those who suffer secondary infertility and it has been known to pull marriages (and friendships) apart.

Concentrate on the fact that you have already conceived (at least) once and for this reason the odds of falling pregnant again are in your favour. Concentrate on the fact that you have a great opportunity to provide your child (or children) with many things that mothers of large families just don't have the time or money to do.

If you suspect that there is a serious problem then you should always consult your Doctor immediately. 

If you would like more information about secondary infertility you should visit us here to 

Friday, 27 May 2011

Caesarean Recovery: Fastest Way To Recover From a Caesarean

Tried and True

After three of my own I wanted to share with you the experience based information that I have leaned about recovering after a caesarean. After my first terrible recovery and upon finding out that I would require another, I thought there has to be a better way. So I began investigating the biggest mistakes that women make (and learned that I had made them all) and why some women recover so much faster than others. It's not fair!

Need a little encouragement? Three weeks after my first caesarean, I was walking through the shops, stooped forwards taking little baby steps. One week after my third caesaren, I was driving my own car to the shops - not recommended and probably illegal, but you see my point. When you are in that amount of pain, the last thing you want is to stay in that amount of pain for a moment longer than you have to.

Before we go on, you need to understand that this info is based on personal experience and you need to discuss your recovery with your nurses and healthcare providers.

My number one piece of advice is to ask your Doctor and each shift of nurses what you can do to speed your recovery. Ask everyone you come across - they will all have different idea's, all based on different experience and by doing so, you will get the whole picture.

Sabotaging Your Recovery
(and what you should be doing instead)

PAIN RELIEF - This may seem obvious but many women try to be martyrs. Some are scared that they will become addicted to the medications when really, you aren't on them long enough to develop a habit. Most hospitals provide morphine or pethidine for the first few days then encourage slow weaning. 

Other women have a bad reaction to the morphine/pethidine that is prescribed - like any medication, it does have a long list of side effects from life endangering allergic reactions to the more common problems like constipation. 

If these drugs don't sit well with you for whatever reasons, there are dozens of alternatives. Most commonly, an epidural can be left in place for the first 48 hours post-op. Some will require you to call the nurse for a top up, others are self administered. No matter what you are offered, make sure you use it! 

Pain is an enormous hindrance to recovery - if you are in pain, you will be scared to move at the risk of more pain. By failing to move, you are putting yourself at risk of blood clots, slowing your recovery and making it harder on yourself than it really has to be. Mobility is a vital key to recovering from your caesarean and you should do all you can to prevent pain from standing in the way of moving.

You may wonder what on earth has Paracetamol have to do with a caesarean and how can it possibly help? Take it anyway. All of these drugs interact together and work in different ways to give you maximum coverage. Like it or not, from a managerial perspective hospitals are a business, they have budgets, they don't like to waste money, they want people to recover and be discharged as early as possible. If Paracetamol didn't work, it wouldn't be offered to every patient post-op.  

 Did you know? When treating any pain you should always begin with mild treatments like Paracetamol or Ibuprofen then build your way up to the stronger medications like Codeine then Morphine. After your recovery, work in
the opposite direction by omitting the strongest painkillers first then until you are left with only the mildest forms of pain relief.

You can discuss your options with your nurses, some will prefer that you ask when you need pain relief, others suggest that you stay ahead of the pain and take it as often as prescribed. I fall in the latter group. If you explain your reasons (that you want to stay ahead of your  pain so that you can become mobile sooner rather than later) and ask for a little note to be made on your med's chart, most hospitals are willing to oblige especially if the note was made by your Doctor.

Many hospitals have a "Pain Patrol" team of Doctor's who visit after your surgery if not every day. These are the people who check that you were adequately covered during your surgery and afterwards. These are also the people who have a brilliant understanding of all of your options so if you are struggling with your reaction  to morphine, they can provide you with alternatives. Be sure to pick their brains - learn your options and discuss a schedule.

EARLY MOBILITY - This is possibly the most important thing you will learn today so listen carefully. The longer you postpone movement, the longer your recovery will take. I have heard of women who have been forced out of bed within hours of their caesarean (because of their epidural headaches) so it is possible.

This sort of exercise should be done
early (day 2) and done often. 
Your nurse will actually have a bit of schedule for you to follow. Day one - bed rest. Day two, catheter comes out, shower, toilet. Day three - Take the epidural out. Encourage a more active role in caring for baby, (bathing, changing etc) Get mum walking further and so on. 

However, this schedule is based on the average woman - the way you cope with and feel pain is nothing like the way I dealt with or felt it nor is it like the next woman's way of coping with it. 

So what's the solution? You have to tune into your body and push it to the point of near pain...and just a little bit further. If you stay ahead of your pain (with your medication) you will feel more tenderness and awkwardness rather than real "OMG I can't move" pain. Don't get me wrong - on a scale of 1-10 many women say that day 2 post-caesarean is about a 12. You will hurt but if you manage the pain properly it should have a minimal effect on your movement as long as you move slowly

The longer you stay inactive the higher the risk of developing blood clots. And have you ever broken a bone? Remember how funny your limb felt when you finally got the cast off? It takes a long time to recover normal movement after that, doesn't it? After a caesarean there's a lot of lying still.

You can avoid that feeling by moving your toes and feet as soon as you can feel them again after surgery and as often as you remember. Try rotating your feet and stretching your ankles. Wiggle your toes. Take as deeper breath as you can comfortably muster (good for several reasons). The next morning, your nurse is going to come for you and she is going to get you in the shower - like it or not. If you haven't wiggled your toes since before your spinal anesthetic then you are going to have trouble with this. If you have been wiggling your feet and trying to move your knees in bed, then you are going to be fine - sore, dizzy, a little scared but fine.

PHYSIO - Physio also begins on day two. The trick here is to do it slowly and accurately. As an example, one exercise involves lying flat, legs bent with your feet flat on the bed and slowly rocking your knees one way then the other. You can do this the day after your caesarean. They recommend you do this a few times a day. Do it more. Do it as often as you remember.
Gently try lifting your bum off the bed and rearrange yourself slightly (day two)
Breastfeeding is awkward because it means rolling onto your side. It seems impossible the first time but know that hundreds of women have been before you and haven't fallen apart at the seems - pardon the pun. Support yourself with pillows and flex your legs. When you're lying in bed, try lifting your bum off the bed to straighten yourself out and lie flat again.

Focus on your technique as you do your physio, there's no point doing it if you're not going to do it properly. Never mind about how long it takes or how far  you can bend, cocentrate on recovering a normal sense of movement.

Tune into your body, take it slowly and (here's the secret again) push your self to the point where it starts being a little painful and (very slowly) just a little bit farther. Each time you do this, that point of pain will be a little further and you can push yourself a little more.

This is what gave me the confidence (or the sheer stupidity) to get behind the wheel after only eight days. The first time around, I was barely able to get in and out of bed by myself after eight days!
Post Caesarean exercise doesn't have to be strenuous.
Concentrate on technique and recovering normal movement

As for exercise itself (in the traditional meaning of the word) you should wait six to eight weeks before checking with your Doctor if you are ready to hit the gym again. There are some rules you will have to follow and a very important (case by case) "walk before you run" conversation that I'm not qualified to give.

REST - Despite everything I have just told you...


Rest is critical to your recovery. You are under strict instructions to avoid lifting anything over 3kg (or heavier than your baby) for the following six weeks. This is not a suggestion, it's an order. 

Think about this, you actually have a legitimate medical excuse (and they don't come by everyday) to use and abuse every offer of help for the next six weeks. That means you can send hubby shopping for groceries, you can get your neighbour to wash your toilet or straighten out your bathroom and you have a real reason to totally ignore the dishes and neglect the vacuuming! How great is that?

If however you have older children, you will find this instruction downright frustrating - what with prams, nappy bags, baskets full of laundry and all the other mommy jobs, you will also find it downright impossible
One word made me stop and take stock of myself - hernia. Yes, it's hard but now is the time to think outside the square. Do you really have to pick up the two year old? Or can he sit on your knee and have a cuddle? 
Is there a passerby you could ask to lift the pram in or out of the car? Can you call on your older child be your best helper and carry (drag) the nappy bag into the house?

Pushing yourself to fast to far will hinder your recovery and be the undoing of all your hard work.

Did you know? When you are exercising it is actually during the rest period between rep's that your body is burning calories and building muscles. Rest is the vital stage that is often overlooked.

OVERCOMING FEAR - Fear is one of the biggest causes of a slow recovery - it interferes with you motivation to recover. It will comfort you to talk with one of your nice nurses (because there always seems to be one that has very little patience or sympathy for you) about your specific fears. I think most womens biggest concern is tearing the wound open again. As long as you move slowly this isn't a problem - you can feel the point where it begins to hurt and you stop, it's that easy. 

Of course you do hear the horror stories but you rarely hear about the other accompanying conditions or circumstances. You never hear about the infections they also had at the time or the fact that they were on one medication or another that doesn't apply to you. I also have an unconfirmed sneaking suspicion that some of these stories are aided further along the grapevine by well meaning nurses trying to get overactive mothers to sow down and take care of themselves - would love to hear your thoughts.

Many women also fear getting pregnant again because traditionally, if you had one caesarean you could kiss goodbye to the idea of ever having another vaginal birth. Would it comfort you to know that thousands of VBAC (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) babies are born every year. To find out if you will be eligible for VBAC you will need to discuss the subject with your OB. 

The vast majority of caesarean's are brought about because of one off circumstances (breech babies, fetal distress, labour not progressing normally) and providing those circumstances don't present in the next pregnancy there is no reason you can't have a trial of labour followed by a VBAC.

I sincerely wish you a speedy recovery after your caesarean. Be sure to add your tips and experiences below, I always love hearing about them. Good luck!!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

"I Just Found Out I Need A Caesarean Section"

Caesarean Sections are surprisingly common these days with nearly 10% of births ending in the surgery. Caesarean's come in two forms; elective and emergency. Please note that a caesarean is a complex procedure and a the risk of turning this article into a book I am simply going to give you an overview of what to expect.

An emergency caesarean is obviously named so because they are required on short notice. The baby is coming and one complication or another means that baby needs to come out and come out now. Elective caesarean's aren't always "elective". They may be required because of pre-existing medical conditions or perhaps you have a mischievous baby who hasn't turned around yet.

Shaving - This varies from one hospital from the next and each Doctor has his own preferences. Many like to shave a little off the top of the pubic region to give them better access to baby. Other Doctor's don't do this because the shaved skin harbors bacteria that can cause infection.

Catheter - Your nurse may insert a catheter before or after your epidural. Not only is this necessary because you will be out of action for the following day or two, it also drains the bladder ensuring a smaller chance of it being accidentally nicked by the scalpel or scissors during the surgery.

Not to worry - you can pick your dignity up when you are discharged and the professionals who are working with you take very good care of it!

Anesthetic - No surgery is complete without anesthetic. There are two forms that are used for elective caesareans; the spinal and the epidural. Both have the same result of numbing you from the chest down. You will be required to sit still (or sometimes to lie, depending on your Dr) while a small needle is inserted into the space in your spinal column. A spinal is a one off shot. The epidural is left in place - a very fine catheter is inserted into the vertebral column and secured in place. Anesthetic is then injected into the spinal fluid - many women feel a warm tingly sensation in the area as it begins to take effect.
Many women experience a warm
tingly feeling in the area as
the spinal anesthetic begins to take effect

Epidural's are the favored option because they can be topped up if required during surgery and can stay in place for 48hours, offering you pain relief in the following days.

Yes, there is a danger of paralysis but it's very rare. More common are the monstrous headaches which sometimes occur after the needle is removed and is caused by a small amount of spinal fluids to leak. It may last a day or two before you feel any relief. Again, this is rare but it is something you should be aware of.

In the cases of an emergency caesarians, a general anaesthetic is sometimes required as it gives your OB the quickest access to a baby in distress. If you have an epidural in place during labour, your Doctors can simply increase the dose to numb the area. General anesthetics have always been high risk and are avoided unless absolutely necessary because of the effects that they have on both mother and child - babies suffer the effects of the anesthetic and mothers can have trouble bonding with baby.

During the Surgery
Many women feel a little overwhelmed by the operating theatre, overwhelmed with nervous tension, excitement and fear of what  may happen. Unless there is a serious problem, you can invite a loved one to hold your hand throughout the event. A screen is placed between you and your tummy so you will not be able to see the team working on you. In some cases (and if requested), this screen can be lowered at the last minute for you to watch baby emerge.

There can be as few as five (often more) Doctors and nurses buzzing around but you can take comfort knowing that they are all very knowledgeable and experienced.

Some teams like to have the radio on or chat about what they have planned for the weekend - you may think that this is unprofessional or that they aren't giving their full attention to the task at hand but it's actually a good sign as it means that there are no complications. Don't fear if your don't hear any chatting though, it depends on the team involved.
Your Doctor will need to make two incisions to get to baby - one in the skin and the second in the uterus. The first into the skin, will depend on the position of the baby and the urgency in which baby has to come out. Given the choice, the vertical (or low transverse) incision is always preferred as it cuts along the grain of the muscle and therefore heals faster. At this point, some Doctors prefer to make a little incision in the uterus with the scalpel and use scissors to open the uterus.

You will feel pressure and tugging
sensations but the experience
should be painless
If you experience any pain during the surgery, all you have to do is ask! It does happen occasionally as the Anaestheseologist trys to find the balance between not enough anesthetic which will leave you in pain and too much anesthetic which can cause breathing difficulty. You will find that you can still feel all the tugging and pulling and the sensation of pressure but you should not experience any pain.

If you have had a spinal and experience a lot of pain, there will be no other option other than to give you a general aneasthetic. This is why epidural's are preferred as they can be topped up with anaesthetic as required. On the other hand, patients with an epidural have a slightly higher occurence of those monsterous headaches because the width of the catheter leaves a larger hole compared to that made with the fine needle of a spinal.
The curtain may be lowered for
 you to watch the moment your
baby enters the world.

Before you know it the bun is finally out of the oven and you get to welcome baby into the world. The Doctor's will begin putting Humpty Dumpty back together again and they are far more capable of this than all the kings soldiers and all the kings men combined. The whole procedure takes about 40 minutes from start to finish providing there are no complications along the way, however the experience is far from over.

Recovery From a Caesarean
This is the hard part. Not only have you just had a major surgery but you also have a new baby to look after. Initially, you will be wheeled off to recovery with baby in tow (providing he/she doesn't need any medical attention) where you will be kept warm and observed for about 20 minutes. Some women experience nausea as a result of the anesthesia so you may require some Maxolon (or a similar drug) at this point. Once you are given the all clear you will be transfered back to your home for the next five days on the ward. Many hospitals try to give caesarean patients a room of their own but it isn't always possible and you may find yourself sharing. This isn't always a bad thing. The last thing you need is somebody else's baby waking you throughout the night but another caesarean patient will be able to offer you empathy, encouragement and company. It also gets lonely confined to bed all by yourself.
After your surgery the wound
may be covered offer you some
extra protection.

The first day you will be heavily dependent on your nurses and the pain medication to get you through. You may be offered a light meal and will be required to stay in bed for the rest of the day. TED's will be fitted to your feet if they haven't already to ward of blood cots during this time. These are standard for the next week but cautious women will wear them for the following six weeks of limited activity during which time you are still at risk.

The following day, the catheter comes out and you are encouraged to begin walking around and take a more active role in caring for your baby. I highly recommend some support for your tummy. You may decide to purchase a bikini belt but at the very least you can also ask your nurse for some Tubi-grip to wear. The constant and even pressure not only supports your back but it help hold your tummy in place. There is no reason movement should cause the staples or sutures to rupture but you do feel very delicate and the fear of rupturing or causing yourself more pain is enough to cause you to restrict your movement - a big no-no.
A bikini belt will offer you some
 support over the following days

Tips to Speed Your Recovery

Stay ahead of the pain - You can discuss this with your nurses ahead of time, I recommend that you have your pain relief topped up every four hours or as frequently as possible. If you are in pain, you won't want to move and mobility is a vital key to healing.

Wiggle your toes - As soon as you can feel your toes again, wiggle them. Rotate your ankles, stretch your feet up and down. Do this as frequently as you remember. The earlier your start moving the earlier you will push through the pain. Movement will also ward of blood clots. You can begin light exercise the following day which involves very slow and gentle leg movements, deep breathing (which is surprisingly difficult) and lying flat while lifting your bum off the bed. All of these are very challenging but the longer you put it off, the longer your recovery. Remaining inactive is the single biggest mistake that women make to sabotage their recovery.

After my first caesarian, I was terrified that any movement would either cause me more pain or the wound to rupture. Took me months to recover. By the time I had my third, I was driving a week later (which isn't recommended by the way). I was still sore and tired and tender, but I realized that if I pushed myself a little further each day, I would get over it faster. If I stalled or limited a particular movement I would only prolong the ordeal.

Six weeks post caesarean and your
scar is  barely visible. Over the
next two years, it  will fade even more.
Request a Physio - Every hospital has them and all caesarian patients are given information about the different excersises that will assist your healing and get your body back in shape. By asking for a Phsyio to come and show you a few light exercises you will be motivated to actually do them (not just read about them) and they can also explain the exercises better in person. Technique has never been more important. Concentrate on doing the exercises correctly and frequently - as often as you remember. Whenever baby needs feeding practice taking a deep breath, rotate your ankles, wiggles your toes, try and move one leg at a time as far as you can without causing pain.

Don't push yourself - Despite what I have just said about mobility and pushing yourself through the discomfort, there is a fine line between pushing yourself and overdoing it. The absolutely vital key is to tune into your body and take frequent rests. I suppose the trick is whether you are trying to stand upright with a straight back (quite a feat at first), trying to take a deeper breath than you did last time or doing your physio, push yourself to the point where you feel a little tender and, just slowly, push a little bit further.

Your Baby Body - Most women are unhappy with the changes in their body. The weight will come and go in it's own time and you should concentrate on a well rounded and balanced diet. Drink lots of water and don't skip meals, especially if you are planning to breastfeed. Whenever you are feeling down on yourself, if you realize that you are still wearing maternity clothes six months later, whenever you don't like what you are seeing the mirror there is one and only one solution. Go and fetch your baby then go back to the try telling me that isn't the most beautiful picture in the world!

For the following 6 weeks your activities are limited to lifting nothing heavier than your baby - which is impossible when you have prams and baths and older children that just can't be avoided. Keep this instruction in the back of your mind though, you have never had a better excuse to neglect the housework - make the most of it and rest.

If you have any queries about ceasarean's please consult your Doctor. Nurses are also an invaluable source of information - they are not only experienced with the surgery itself but they also take a more active role in caring for new mother's and babies and are positively overflowing with valuable information that they are happy to share.

I sincerely wish you all a swift and problem free recovery.

Monday, 23 May 2011

The Absolutely Essential Idiots Guide to Baby Cares

As soon as anyone discovers you are pregnant you are public property. You might as well walk around with a sign around your neck:

Yes - I am Pregnant
18 weeks
No- I don't have other children 
Yes - I do plan on using my reproductive organs again (but not for a few years)
Yes - I am excited
No - I don't want to hear your childbirth horror story...but thanks anyway

Sound familiar? And along with all the standard questions comes people's advice about how you should or shouldn't raise your child. Much of it is well intended of course, and a lot of it can be useful if you filter through the outdated advice. But that's what we're here for! To filter through the masses of information and bring you nothing but the best? 

We are very proud of this one...we've outdone ourselves.

Be sure to study carefully and don't be shy...make sure you bookmark for future reference - these things can be very confusing to start with but with a little help from Getting Pregnant After, you too can be a supermum!

Are You Ready Become A Mother?

Have you been thinking about having a baby? Many times motherhood is unexpected but most women these days prefer to prepare themselves for the life altering responsibility and plan their pregnancy carefully. If that sounds like the approach you would like to make then perhaps we should talk about whether or not you are ready to have a baby.

One of the most vital points you need to examine is your health. It's recommended that women begin boosting their folate intake weeks in advance of falling pregnant. A preconception appointment with you Doctor is always a great pace to start before considering a pregnancy.

On that note, with the cost of health care on the rise and children forever being in the need of care, you should also investigate the cost of health care cover. If you already have a policy, you would be wise to check the fine print - is pregnancy included? Is it easy to add a child to your cover and how much is the increase? Many insurance companies now realize that by encouraging new mothers to breastfeed after childbirth will save them money in the long term and a good provider will offer to loan you a breast pump to express your milk along with your maternity cover.

Your diet should be considered of course and there are many foods you can begin eating now that will boost your chances of a successful conception. With childhood obesity reaching epidemic proportions, this will also set you up for a lifetime of healthy eating. You can read up about a healthy diet and fertility boosting foods right here.

It seems like every month a new report is released about the costs of raising a child. The one thing they do have in common is the fact that the cost is over $1million. The good news is that you don't need this type of money upfront! In all seriousness, if you are currently having trouble making ends meet then you will find live extremely frustrating when you are trying to figure out how to squeeze nappies and children's clothing into your budget. That isn't to say that you need a lot of money to raise a child, but some money in the bank goes a long way to securing your futures together. There are opportunities to stay at  home and make money whilst looking after your family. Be warned though, there are many people out there selling misleading get rich quick schemes so will do well to investigate places like Legitimate Online Jobs for a database of real companies that offer real opportunities.

Your living conditions are also an important consideration. Not all of us own that house in the suburbs and the white picket fence, but do you live in a safe neighborhood? Are you close enough to a support network of family and friends? Do you have enough room to accommodate a cot, a pram, draws, change mat/table, baby bath and all the other "hardware" that mother's use?

In my opinion, the most important of these questions is being close to a support network - all new mothers struggle with the sleepless nights caused by burning fevers or teething pain and the constant wonder of "Am I doing this right? Why is he/she still crying?" Having some guidance from experienced family and friends will put your mind at ease. And besides. babysitters are expensive!

There will come a time when baby needs a room of his or her own. If you do not have enough room then you need ask yourself if you would prefer to move house now or later down the track when you are pregnant or have a child - moving now could save you a lot of stress, but moving later could save you money.

Your age is another important consideration. Many women are leaving motherhood to the last minute to find that they struggle to conceive. If you are over 30 and want children now is the time to give this some serious thought. After the age of 35 the chances of having a high risk pregnancy, a baby with health issues and having problems conceiving is increased. If you are in this age group and you're serious about motherhood, make an appointment immediately - I'll wait here for you.

Lastly, but it's also worth a mention...does your partner know? Don't laugh, I'm serious. Some women who decide to have a baby have given little thought to what their partners want. If you have been together for a long time then perhaps you have already discussed the matter of becoming parents. Perhaps he is unsure. Perhaps he's pressuring you and you're not to sure. What ever the case, parenthood is the biggest decision you will ever make.

Don't be fooled by the baby on 
the adverts; parenthood is work.

It's the worst paying work, the longest hours, the least thanks, with high rates of depression (postnatal) and you're under constant emotional pressure.

 It also has the biggest rewards, lifetime membership, the funniest laughs and you will know the deepest and rawest love as you you form the greatest bonds. There is never a dull moment, that's for sure.

So if you would like to prepare for motherhood, then you are advised to thoroughly consider all of the points mentioned here today. You are also advised to discuss the matter with your health care providers, other parents and as well as any of literally millions of books on conception, pregnancy and childcare that are available for you to collect.

I would recommend that you also visit me at HubPages where I have torn back the veil of secrecy and exposed the truth of motherhood for all who have the stomach to bear it.

Monday, 16 May 2011

In Vetro Fertilization - Step by Step

In Vetro Fertilization is a very intensive treatment and many Doctors find that they have more success when they take complete control over the woman's menstrual cycle. There are five stages to the textbook treatment of IVF.


An IVF cycle takes about three weeks from start to finish and begins with stimulating the ovaries. In a regular menstrual cycle, only one ova is released but with a course of injections fertility drugs stimulate the ovaries into maturing  several ova. Blood tests will monitor your hormones levels for signs of over or under stimulation and transvaginal ultrasound is used to determine the maturity of the ova.


Once the eggs are ready for harvest, you will under go a minor surgery called follicular aspiration. This is a daysurgery which is usually done in your Doctor's clinic and you'll be home the same day. Medication is given to relieve any pain you may experience. Ultrasound images are used as a guide and your Doctor will insert a thin needle through the vagina. Attached to the needle is a suction tube. The needle is inserted  into an ovary and the follicles which contain the eggs. The eggs are gently suctioned out of each follicle one at a time and then repeated on the other other ovary. repeated for the other ovary. You may experience some cramping afterwards.


After close examination, your Doctor will chose the best quality eggs and place them into a special chamber along with the sperm. Insemination usually occurs within a few hours but if the Doctor thinks that there is a possibility that the chances of fertilization being low, staff will inject the sperm into the egg. This is known as ICSI (intracytoplasmic `sperm injection). Depending on your choice of clinic, this will be done routinely regardless.


Over the next three to five days, your Doctor will closely monitor the egg's progress. The egg becomes an embryo once it begins to divide. Pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGD) is occasionally offered at this stage to couples who are concerned about passing genetic complications onto their child. It's highly controversial and not all clinics offer PGD. At the end of this stage, several cells in your embryo's are actively dividing and are ready to be implanted back into the womb.


Depending on your age and the clinic, two - three embryo's are transferred back into the uterus. Once again, this is a day surgery that is done in your Doctor's office whilst under a local anesthetic. A thin catheter carries the embryo's through the cervix and up into the womb. At this point, there is no way to embed the embryo into the uterine wall and they are left to their own devices. Some Doctor's choose to medically prepare the uterine wall making it more receptive. Should an embryo implant to the wall...well, congratulations!

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Baby Sign Language: The Shocking Statistics

I have written much about teaching Sign Language to hearing babies in the past. In an effort to prevent this from turning into the world's longest post, I have (painfully) limited myself to just the statistics.
  • What have the studies shown? And what have parents got to say?
  • The statistics of hearing loss - in children and adults.
  • Why should you care?
What the Official Studies Say About Sign Language...
  • Studies have shown that babies who learned sign as infants had a higher IQ overall than babies who didn't learn sign.
  • Children who have learned sign have been shown to have more advanced language skills than children who have not learned sign.
  • Signing in the classroom has led to improved math scores among students.
  • Learning sign language at an early age helps develop the brain in the critical early years of language development.
What Parents say...

There have been hundreds of studies into Sign Language because let's face it, we only want the best for our children. 
  • That babies who sign seem happier (therefore happier Mums)
  • Signing helps parents to tune into Baby's needs and they form strong bonds.
  • Most children can learn to Sign by the age of 7-8 months (some as early as 3-6 months)
  • Babies who Sign seem happier and are lees prone to tantrums because they can express their needs better.
  • Babies who Sign also come to have a great grasp of language too.
  • Signing is especially beneficial for babies who are prone to glue ear and middle ear infections
  • My number one reason for learning to Sign - you can yell at them in public without saying a word =)
 (This actually comes in really handy when you need to tell them something discreetly)
The Statistics of Hearing Loss
In many countries around the world, we screen our newborns for hearing loss. If your baby passes with flying colours then you may be inclined to think that you're in the all clear. Sadly, this isn't the case. 

  • 3.5 million Australians are living with some degree of hearing loss
  • That's 16.69% of the population or nearly 1 in 6 people (many of these are over 65)
  • 93% of Indigenous Australian baby will experience glue ear and middle ear infections during early childhood
  • 500 babies in Australia are born each year with some degree of hearing loss
  • 95% of those babies are born into families with little or no experience with deafness
  • Over 80% of those children will go to public schools and be the only hearing impaired child at the school
  • Hearing loss is projected to increase to 1 in 4 by 2050
  • 1 million Australians are exposed to hazardous noise levels at work - this damage is irreversible...but preventable

  • 5 out of 1000 children in Britain will require medical intervention - surgery - to treat glue ear
  • There are 2.3 million people in Britain (aged 16-60) living with mild-moderate hearing loss
  • 2 million own hearing aids
  • 1.4 million use them regularly
  • 840 babies are born each year with significant hearing loss
  • 1 in 1000 will be deaf by the age of three
  • Approximately 36 millions American adults are living with some degree of hearing loss.
  • 44% of carpenters and 45% of plumbers report some degree  of hearing loss
  • 3 per 1000 children are born with some degree of hearing loss
  • 3 per 4 children will experience ear infections by the age of 3 (this one shocked me)
Across the board:
  • Adults will spend an average of 7yrs living with hearing loss before seeking help.
  • Sufferers are more likely to become depressed (due to the isolation they experience)

Scary, huh? The sad thing is, a huge percentage of those adults sustained hearing loss at work.
Glue ear and middle ear infections are incredibly common in young children. When a child suffers from glue ear repeatedly, they begin to shut themselves off from the world. They "misbehave" or develop "behavioural problems"....because the can't hear the instruction you give them. 

They also struggle in the classroom because they have missed out on months of "English lessons" at home - you spoke to them, but they couldn't understand you. 

These kids are at a very serious disadvantage. They often require speech therapy. They are more likely to become depressed later in life because they were isolated early in life.

I'm a big believer that our school systems should be teaching some basic Sign Language to our children. Heck, I bet you could even find volunteers to run the programs and teach the kids. Until that day, the onus is on the parents to teach their children.

If you already know me, then you would know that my eldest son suffered from febrile convulsions in his infancy. The first Sign we taught him was "hot."  Within weeks, he would make the Sign whenever he felt to hot - this allowed us to treat him before medical intervention was required. 

Sometimes, it was too late - he would stop breathing while his internal thermostat rebooted.  Other times it was early enough to get him undressed and cooling down before that glazed look in his eyes took hold of him. 

Knowing the numbers - studying the statistics - coupled with my own experience with Sign Language, I am urging every parent to give this some serious consideration.

Click here for ASL (USA)
Click here for BSL (UK)

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Wanting A Pregnancy Miracle?

Having a site like this one dedicated to conception and pregnancies I see and study a lot of techniques and systems - many of which are filled with false promise. So when I first saw Pregnancy Miracle claiming to have found the secret to cure infertility I was skeptical. I did a little more research into the system and let me share a little secret of my own.

Pregnancy Miracle has heaps of clinical evidence, 14 years worth of one determined has a lot of supporting evidence and successful stories to back it also comes with a 60 day guarantee...


I would completely not recommend that you take Lisa Olsen up on her offer, study the book for two months and then return it no questions asked. No, I would not do that - that would be unethical of me.

So let's get to the point:

  • Who's the Creator of Pregnancy Miracle?
  • What is Pregnancy Miracle?
  • Who Has it Helped
  • My Own Opinion of the System.
Lisa Olsen - The Mind Behind The Miracle
Lisa Olsen is a Chinese Medicine Researcher, Alternative Health and Nutrition Specialist, Health Consultant.

She is also a former sufferer of infertility. 

As you read through her story, you quickly realize that infertility was just not an option for this woman!
I sincerely commend her "baby or bust" attitude - she would not take no for an answer. After many years of TTC (trying to conceive) she dedicated 14yrs of her life studying every journal, article and report on fertility until she (at 43yrs) found an answer that allowed her to have two healthy children.

Here's a quick exert that I have pulled off her website:

After learning this new “trick” we conceived our daughter within a few short months. Our second pregnancy took less than a month to achieve.  Ten years after beginning our quest, we were the proud parents of two beautiful, healthy children!
I also started testing my system on other women who had struggled to get pregnant and it yield the same shocking and groundbreaking results.
In less than a 3 months on average 27 out of 35 women participating in my experiment had conceived.
What's even more exciting is that it worked regardless of what the reason for infertility was and among women of any age (from 28-47).

What is Pregnancy Miracle?
Bottom line right??  $39

This Pregnancy Miracle system is comprised of a 240 page ebook which is based on decades of research. It's a step by step system that has been clinically researched - because we're not interested unless you can prove it, right?

The book comes with five bonus books and 3 months worth of counseling. It's all been thoroughly researched and the evidence supports that the system is successful.

Granted, Pregnancy Miracle is not suitable for everyone. Some causes of infertility cannot be repaired. Do not confuse it with an over night cure all. Your outcome will also depend on your ability to follow the step by step instructions (all five of them!).

There are also dozens of other measures she clearly explains that every woman should know while facing infertility. The fact is that infertility can often be a symptom of more serious underlying issues - Pregnancy Miracle addresses these problems with a holistic healing from the inside out approach.

Who Has Pregnancy Miracle Helped?
There's heaps of testimonials on the website (click here to visit) so I won't bore you with them. Many of these women had been trying and failing to start or expand their family for years (often over a decade) including many failed cycles of IVF.
I've had a good read of them and some of them actually brought tears to my eyes. So many of them had given up all hope of becoming parents and had purchased the book out of sheer desperation.

 Many of these women (as late as in their 40s) were diagnosed with PCOS or endometriosis, blocked fallopian tubes, ovarian cysts and lazy ovarians, uterine scarring, a history of miscarriage and the list goes on. They had exhausted every other option medicine had to offer. Their specialists had given up on them.

So what do I think of it?
Well I'm here writing it so it obviously gets my tick of approval. I have seen many promising products in the past especially over the internet that are down right misleading. But, I think she's onto something here.

However I wouldn't go so far as to say that it's a miracle - the success rate is around 65-70% which id double the 30% chance with IVF. In that sense it's impressive.

I have come across other women who swear by it and I'm impressed enough to advertise her Pregnancy Miracle here on my own site.

This is what I would suggest, if you're not ready to take that long arduous journey of IVF just yet, then this is the perfect next step for you. Or if you are thinking about IVF - which can takes months to plan - I would definitely be using this on the mean time.

At the end of the day it's less than $40 and has a 60 day guarantee. It claims to work in 2-4 months so keep your receipt somewhere safe.