Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Mythbuster: Circumstances surrounding EA adopting couples

Under Inspection:

Embryo adoption is a last-chance option to be considered once you've tried everything else.


I heard this one from the Reproductive Endocrinologist whom we saw for the first time after we'd decided to do EA. He told us that there were a lot of issues surrounding "third party reproduction" (which term puts EA in the same category as sperm/egg donation and surrogacy), and that we shouldn't be considering it at our age (mid-20s). He was confident that I could get pregnant easily with a minor surgery and some ovulation inducing/strengthening medications. "Embryo Donation," he said, "would be a good option for an older couple who has tried everything else."

Factual Experience:

I don't really see why he thought his opinion mattered. To be fair though, we didn't push it that visit- we waited until our follow-up a few months later to tell him we hadn't changed our minds. I'm not sure what he thought we'd regret, but whatever it is hasn't materialized. Any kind of adoption might be a choice made after other family-building attempts, or it might not be. For us, we were considering adoption at some point in life anyway, so it didn't take much to push us in that direction. And the fact that we were young made EA all the more attractive, because it gave one more element in favor of embryo survival! It's funny, but right now having a biological child feels much more like a fairly tale than the path we chose.

Conclusion that EA is only for aging, desperate couples who are out of other options: False (but you might have to work a little bit harder to convince your RE)!

The proof is in the pudding, as they say:

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

In which we visit the library and Mommy gets angry over a book

I finally realized, now that I'm not working 7:30-4 every day, that I can go to the library!! I don't know why I didn't think of this before- I practically lived at the library growing up. Of course, it was a 5 minute walk from my house, and now it's a 25 minute drive, and this library is about 1/4 the size of the small library I grew up with, but this is still worth it. So, I packed Hannah up and went to get us a card!

Here she is, enjoying the fruit of community-sponsored literacy:

Now, to be fair, I didn't actually open the books for her, because she is currently obsessed with crinkling and trying to eat paper. All things in good time. She does have books at home that she can eat with abandon. I hope this is the beginning of a long an very fun tradition.

For me, I checked out the third "Hunger Games" book, praying that they'll find the second one and call me to come get it before this one is due. I also perused the parenting section, and decided to check out On Becoming Babywise, since I've had several people recommend it to me. I intentionally hadn't read it yet, because I knew it was about scheduling and leaving your baby to cry themselves to sleep, neither of which I was comfortable doing. Now that Hannah's 6 months old and I feel confident that we're doing well together, I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

It's hard for me to say this knowing that it might alienate some other moms, and I want to preface my opinion with the caveat that I harbor no judgement towards those who find that some of the things in Babywise work well for their families. I firmly believe that every baby is different, and if yours is hungry every 3 hours and you have the breast storage capacity and milk supply to feed that far apart, great! If your baby sleeps best without you, who am I to say that you should teach them to sleep with you? (Actually, Hannah won't sleep with me, or even go to sleep if I am holding her. It makes me kind of sad, but I do understand how nice and easy it is that I can lay her down and go do something else for her nap time.)

That being said- I HATED the book. I couldn't find anything good in it. I can't even say that I "took the good and left the bad." The whole thing reeks of superiority based on absolutely no expertise whatsoever, and flies in the face of everything we know about lacation, parent/child bonding, and infant psychological development. Let me say that there is NO evidence that I'm aware of even that it's best to "eat-play-sleep." Who decides that it's bad for babies to have a nice, full tummy and the comfort of a parent's arms to feel comfortable enough to sleep? Gary Ezzo? With a degree in.... theology, and a wife whose couple of years as a practicing nurse in a hospital (not even a primary care clinic) can't be confirmed to have had anything to do with pediatrics? Don't even get me started on the doctor who got so brainwashed as to ignore all of his medical training and add his name to this book because he wrote the forward.

If you haven't read it, be prepared to be guilted and threatened the whole way through. If you have read it, try reading it with new eyes, because the whole thing is about insulting others' intelligence and puffing yourself up with pride at doing things the "right" way and reaping the formulaic child. Notice the fictional babies that drive the story- you know, the ones where the babywise baby is perfect, and the other one is a selfish, living terror who grows up with no friends because of her anti-social personality disorder? This is a "straw man fallacy", and the rest of the book that attacks anybody who chooses any different path as stupid or emotionally unstable, or living in chaos, is a "black-or-white" fallacy.

That's just the reasonable/ think-it-through logically side of me reacting to propoganda presenting itself as good reasoning and research. The other side of me that reacts violently is the nurse, because unlike Mrs. Ezzo, I really do have a background in pediatrics, and have seen multiple cases of failure to thrive, and have spent a lot of time doing one-on-one teaching and observing mother-baby couples in primary care clinics as they grow. This book is dangerous. Maybe you or your friend didn't have a poor outcome, for a variety of reasons, but the ideas can cause serious damage physically, emotionally, and developmentally. I find it best not to play with fire, myself.

Many, many babies need to eat more often than every 2 1/2 hours (Ezzo's minimum), and not just during growth spurts. It's not appropriate to ignore a baby's cry for 45 minutes at a time, because it's "sleep time" and they shouldn't eat before bed. And it is definitely harmful for a book to tell you to ignore the advice of the certified lactation consultant who tells you differently, and to demonize her and warn your other Babywise friends (who are also struggling to maintain their milk supply) to stay away too. Babies are also known to have no sense of "others," and that's something they grow into, not something they have to be taught. They don't even know that mom is a separate person for the first few months. It's not fair to a helpless infant to be "taught" that they're not the center of the universe, because it's a lesson they're not capable of learning. All they learn is that communicating a need doesn't result in that need being met, and that it's easier to just give up than to continue to let everyone know that they're lonely/hungry/bored.

Ignoring babies to get them on a schedule and spacing feedings for the same reason is a recipe for Failure to Thrive. Based on my training and experience, I knew this as soon as I heard the idea, and became more convinced of it as I read the book. Then I found the site, which made me sick to my stomach, because it contains multiple stories of just that scenario. Look it up. Read the "Voices of Experience." They're not crazy or uneducated people. They're not people who did it wrong. They're the evidence of rotten fruit produced by a system that can't deliver on its promises.

I was going to outline some things I do believe are good about parenting styles, but this post is already too long. If you want to believe that I am that fearful, exhausted, uneducated mom slaving away to her child's every whim in order to repair the trauma of childbirth... that's a good sign that you've taken most of your parenting advise from the non-expertise of Gary Ezzo and his supporters. In the meantime, I am going to return the book to the library since I don't really have the funds to pay the fine I'd get for burning it, but I'm going to include a "warning" bookmark for the next person who checks it out. May their baby not be the next one admitted to the hospital for FTT because of the mis-guided endorsement of friends who didn't know that's where following the book's advice could lead them.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

High Chair Acquired and Squash Ingested

We got a high chair today- $20 on Craig's List! Of course, we had to test it out, since her slight vaccine-induced temperature had gone away by evening and she was feeling 100% again. She looks so tiny in the great big chair! We've decided to forgo spoons and purees and jump straight into real food a la "baby-led-weaning," so Hannah got to test out her high chair and some steamed yellow squash slices at the same time. She managed to mangle a whole squash and swallow at least some of it. I think.

P.S. You see what I mean about her not smiling for my camera shots? Ha!

"You want me to do what? With that?"

"Mmphm, well, maybe I'll try a bit."
"Squash? What squash? I don't see any squash."

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

6 Month Checkup Stats

Hannah went for her 6 month checkup today, and weighed in in the lightweight category, at 13 lbs on the nose, and 25 inches. This is about the 5th percentile on both the CDC and the WHO growth charts for weight, and the 15th percentile for length. No concerns about either measurement from the NP. I am not a bit surprised considering how much this little girl moves! The new thing this week is pulling up to standing from a sitting position. She hasn't even totally mastered the sitting thing yet, much less the crawling thing, but if I sit her in front of something she can grab, she will grab it and get up onto her feet.

Tomorrow will probably not be a very active day though, because she got her shots, and last time she ran a low-grade fever and cuddled and nursed all day. She also wouldn't put weight on the leg with the tetanus in it, so I expect to get some loving from her tomorrow. As much as I love, love, love her little independent personality, I have at times wished she wanted to cuddle more, so I'm going to have to lap it up while it lasts, because I'm sure she'll be back to her squiggly self very soon.

And because my internet is working pretty well tonight, here is a picture of the apron I made Sam:

And a bonus, because I can't resist the pull of the cute Hannah/ Daddy picture:

"Whaaaat? Are you looking at me?"

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Father's Day Post!

Today is Sam's first Father's Day!!
It is also, incidentally, Hannah's 6th month-day.

 Funny thing about that- I got up last week, put his present and card on the table, and we were making a big deal about it, only to find out after church that is was not, in fact, Father's Day. So, I have nothing left up my sleeve for today. I would add a picture of the apron, but for some reason, probably having to do with problematically slow internet, it won't upload. Instead, I'll just share some recent pictures of the Fairy Tale Princess that were taken by her Daddy. He can somehow get her to smile for the camera- all I get when I try  is for her to be incredibly interested in the dirt on the ground.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Mythbuster: A single embryo transfer

Under Inspection:

A couple must transfer at least 2 embryos in order to have any hope for a pregnancy, especially if the embryos have been frozen.


Many people think they must accept a multiple embryo transfer, and for some, that is their best option. The fact is though, that it highly depends on several factors, such as:

  • The age and fertility status of the genetic mother. (Ours was young)
  • The age and fertility status of the receiving mother. (I was in my late 20s, with no uterine deformities)
  • The method of freezing and the age of the embryo(s). (Ours were frozen about 4 years before our first transfer, at 5 days of age- blastocyst stage)
  • The skill and experience of the embryologist doing the thawing. (Our clinic has, I think, an excellent embryology team)
  • How many embryo babies are in each "straw." (We received 4 straws- 3 of which had 1 embryo each, and one of which had 2)
I already knew I wanted to try a Single Embryo Transfer (SET), and my doctor recommended either 1 or 2 embryos, so it was an easy decision for us. I did realize that this might mean less of a likelihood of pregnancy on our first try. On the other hand, I was only risking one life at a time, and giving that one baby the best chance possible to be born full-term and healthy. We plan to do the same with the other single-embryo straws in the future.

Factual Experience:

For our first transfer, we chose to thaw and transfer only one embryo out of the five that we received from the donating family. She survived, and is taking a nap right now! 

So we went from this (embryo picture magnified times about a zillion)

To this:

To this:

Conclusion that SET never works, especially not on the first try: Myth!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Unswaddled Naps

This blog may skip around a bit until I have a chance to re-arrange the timeline. So since I've shared a little background to start, now I'd like to jump to present time and share a little current news in my Non-Mythical Mommy world.

Hannah has slept swaddled since we figured out that she wouldn't hardly sleep any other way somewhere in her 3rd week of life. However, shortly after 4 months, she figured out how to flip onto her belly, even in her swaddle. We decided that was a dangerous way to sleep, and figured we had to unswaddle her. This was the result:

After several days of that, we gave up and reswaddled, at which point she decided she liked sleeping on her back best anyway, and we were all happy again. But really, at almost 6 months, she is just about too big for her little swaddlers, and she needs to learn to sleep without them anyway. We've been successful at nighttime since we first tried unswaddling, but naps are a different story. Until this week. I can now get her to nap in the morning, unswaddled! Afternoons, not so much. Maybe next month.