Secondary Infertility: The Struggle is Real

Sometime last year my husband and I decided that three kids would be good for us. Our two are getting slightly older and we were ready to tackle being outnumbered. Our first two came so easily. I never thought that we’d have trouble with a third…

Yet, here we are…

Secondary Infertility.

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This past March I was feeling a little funky one morning. Decided to take a pregnancy test. Sure enough, positive. It was a pretty faint positive but I figured it was just because I was so early on. I went to the doctors the next day for bloodwork and started bleeding shortly after. My HCG count was only 15 and my progesterone level was dangerously low at 0.7— AKA, a chemical pregnancy.

I was a little discouraged because as soon as you see a positive pregnancy test the excitement kicks in. I was happy at least because I was able to get pregnant.

I tracked ovulation the best that I could. My doctor put me on progesterone supplements to take. I was doing everything right. Nothing was happening. I was discouraged and just kind of threw my hands in the air and stopped caring after several cycles.

Fast forward a few months, here we are in July.
Same thing. I was feeling sluggish and just slightly off so I decided to take another test. Positive. More positive looking than the first one. This was a Saturday morning so I took another one Sunday. Another one Monday. They were all getting slightly darker and I thought, “yup, this is it.”

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I called the doctors office Monday and they told me that my doctor wasn’t in but they would call me the following day to see what she wanted me to do. I scheduled an ultrasound appointment for when I would be 8 weeks. The next day she called me in to do the same blood tests as before… HCG & Progesterone.

Driving home from my blood draw, I started bleeding.

Seriously? 

It was also one of the most traumatic blood draws of my life. Proof.

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So I called the office the following day with my period in full effect. I told the nurse what was happening and got my results. My HCG was 19 and my progesterone a whopping 9.8 —- wayyyyy too low. Again, another chemical pregnancy.

So my next step is waiting until that “8 week pregnancy” appointment and just having a chat with my doctor. They plan on doing a full workup and seeing if they can find any reason this keeps happening other than the fact that I know I ovulate late and my progesterone sucks.

I’m quite stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one. We want a third and I think later in life I’ll be mad at myself if I don’t give it an honest try. I’m not talking IVF honest try because that’s not for our family but at least a good workup and possibly some medications.

We’ll see. For all of you struggling with secondary infertility, you’re not alone.

The Scariest Place on the Internet

If you’re a mother, trying to conceive a child, or have ever been pregnant than chances are you’ve joined a group online geared towards other women going through the same thing. In 2018, our online social life seems like it’s just as full, if not fuller than our daily “in real life” interactions. This is especially true for some mothers who are with their children all day but seek out adult interaction. I get it, I totally do.  So it makes sense that  easy solution would be to join a “mom group” on Facebook to talk with other adults in the same life space.

WellI’m here to tell you why mom groups are the scariest place on the internet.

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Lets face it, mothers are in a pretty vulnerable state regardless of what they will tell you. We’re constantly wondering if we’re screwing everything up, working towards finding that perfect balance in life, and worried about XYZ that’s going on with ourselves, our spouses, or our kids. Every single person is fighting their own battle and dealing with whatever they have going on in their personal life. Women (specifically mothers) tend to seek reassurance and advice and don’t always have the desire / resources to talk to friends or family. Sometimes they want unbiased advice or strangers to vent too.

This leads them to mom groups.

There are hundreds of thousands of these groups on Facebook alone. Ranging from local ones in your area with just a small number of members to large groups with thousands of members. There are even mom groups centered around certain Podcasts I listen too. If a lot of women enjoy it, there is probably a mom group online associated with it.

 

Point Proven. I searched "Moms" and "Target" and BAM! A Group.

Point Proven. I searched “Moms” and “Target” and BAM! A Group.

So now you have a wild number of groups that multiple women are posting too asking for advice, venting, or sharing stories. Tons of posts with tons of comments in response.

It all sounds great and supportive but is it?
Sometimes, maybe. Most of the time, not really. 

I’ve seen some of the scariest things happen in these groups. I’ve seen women post venting about a job and then someone screenshots that post and sends it to the employer. This ended in a job loss.  I’ve seen the same thing happen when women post about their husbands. This ended in physical abuse. I think we’ve all seen ungodly amounts of bad medical advice including dosages of medications that are unsafe and diagnoses that are wrong. We are not doctors and the internet should never be used in place of a doctor, duh! I’ve even seen a murder. Yes, you’ve read that right. I can’t get into details but I assure you it’s horrific.

Mothers are passionate. Women are passionate. When we get behind a computer screen sometimes that passion flies off the hinges into heated keyboard warrior arguments and adds unnecessary stress and drama in our lives. It seems that most of the times in these mom groups, it’s literally impossible to agree to disagree.

We also have a horrible habit of comparing ourselves and our kids to other people online. We have to remember that what people share is often their highlight reel and every kid is going to do things at their own pace. So if you’re getting down on yourself after seeing what other parents / kids are doing or not doing, try to not to compare. You’ll drive yourself crazy.

In that past few months, I’ve removed myself from most mom groups. The ones that have the most members, the ones where I’ve witnessed the most judging, and the ones that cause me stress are off of my news feed. It’s been quite liberating and has made for a way better online experience. No more getting sucked into the rabbit hole of horrible mom groups and way less people trying to sell me things, yay!
If you follow these steps when it comes to your mom groups, I promise you’ll be happier. 

  1. Call your pediatrician / doctor when it comes to anything medical. You don’t need the advice of strangers to worry you or give you incorrect information. We know you’re going to google the symptoms anyways and think you have cancer so let your doctor be the one to tell you the good news that you just have a bug bite.
  2. When you see a post that is totally out there roll your eyes, giggle a little to yourself, and just keep scrolling.
  3. Remove yourself from any group that is causing stress. Limit yourself to just one or two of the “good groups” but still be careful.
  4. Don’t post anything online that you’re not okay with the world seeing. Just because it’s in a group doesn’t mean it’s going to stay there. Post with the assumption that everyone is going to see it.
  5. Be yourself and don’t compare yourself and your kids to others.

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2018 Easter Baskets

I don’t know why easter and easter baskets stress me out. I guess it’s because I’m trying to put things in it that 1) my kids will like 2) aren’t complete trash that will just get thrown away and 3) will fit in the basket!  I  also don’t like to go overboard and treat Easter like a second Christmas. I still, just like any parent, want to make it fun and see them get excited.

I should point out that we aren’t a religious family so we literally just celebrate the easter bunny and the coming of spring! The bunny comes in and brings surprises for them to enjoy during spring time.

I browsed the pre-made baskets at the store and just felt like my kids would eat the candy and then break any of the toys that were in there in a sugar fueled rage.

So instead… 

This is what I came up with this year.

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These are the same baskets they’ve had since their very first easter! I got them at Pottery Barn kids on mega sale years ago and they’ve held up fantastic.

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So what exactly did I put in them this year?

Aria [3.5 years old] & Everett [5.5 years old]

  • 2 swim suits
  • spring / summer sandals
  • 3 jars of playdoh
  • sidewalk chalk
  • hatchimal eggs
  • slinky
  • cotton candy
  • chocolate bunny
  • educational book [preschool or kindergarten workbook]
  • scented markers [mostly for me, I’m obsessed]
  • silly putty
  • blank drawing pad

I put pretty much identical things in each basket to avoid the inevitable fight between them if they’d had gotten different things. There’s, of course, sugar in there but with all the egg hunts they’re going too, I really didn’t want to fill the basket with more. I was going to be buying swim suits and sandals anyways so why not toss them into the basket! I feel like everything in there will be used this spring and don’t feel guilty since I didn’t fill them with a bunch of junk that will get thrown away in a day!

 

I’ve Missed This

Life has been a new kind of busy for me lately. When I didn’t have time to do everything I wanted to do I let blogging hang out on the back burner. The truth behind that is, I’ve missed it! Writing has always been cathartic and blogging has always been fun for me so it’s time to get back to it.

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So where have I been? 

  • I started a new online based company called Merci Social. I’ve been taking on new clients for photography, graphic design, and virtual assisting. So while i’ve been busy online, it’s just been building my new website and working for clients!
  • I took on working from home doing the social media for the veterinary clinic I work for (yay!)  Of course I’m still working in office as well at least 3 days a week.
  • My kids are still super demanding, that hasn’t changed. Although, they’re both school for at least 3 days a week I somehow don’t have any extra time.
  • The bachelor started again, ha.

So no more excuses, I’m back! <3

Local Events: Augusta on Ice

Last night my family and myself got the pleasure of checking out Augusta on Ice. It’s a local event that includes ice skating, an ice slide, train rides, Santa visits, and food and drink. I’m all about community events so I was stoked to go and check it out. Plus, it’s not everyday that you get to play on the ice in Georgia!

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Growing up in the north (Michigan) sledding and ice skating was just a typical winter activity. I forgot how much I missed it but loved that I could get that winter feeling here in my new home of Augusta. I also love that I was able to give my kids a glimpse of what my winters were like growing up!

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The kids had a blast sliding down the ice slide and racing cars down the ice ramp. Augusta on ice is definitely family orientated and had a lot of smaller activities to keep the kids occupied and entertained.

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The highlight of Augusta on Ice is definitely the ice skating. There is no extra fee to rent skates and they have sizes for everyone. Since it was our kids first time on ice, they had “skate helpers” there to assure that they felt comfortable until they could get the hang of it. They never really were able to skate around without the helper but I didn’t expect them to be able too!

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Everett was mad when it was time to leave as you can tell by this picture and of course his little sister needs to try to emulate the arms crossing.

I would suggest everyone go out and give Augusta on Ice a shot; especially if you have little ones. It’s a fun afternoon / evening out experiencing winter activities.

Details:

Augusta on Ice
836 Reynolds Street
Augusta, GA 30901

Currently open now through January 6th, 2018.

Check out Augusta on Ice’s website here for specific hours and special events.

Meet Carla

My best friend and I have a very strange but amusing relationship. We’ve been friends since first grade (25 years!) and we just kind of get each other. We live 12 hours away from each other so distance is a total jerk but we make the best of the situation. We’ve started a new tradition where we take a girls only trip once a year, we text every so often, and sending the occasional package.

The day before Halloween a package showed up addressed to the “Pinecone family.” My last name is Piccione but telemarketers often mispronounce it and call me Erin Pinecone. Well, I knew it was from her. I also knew the contents were going to be strange because that’s just who we are as people.

I opened the card and inside it said “I tried to find the weirdest things I could on Etsy.”

I was filled with excitement and terror all at the same time. 

Sure enough.

A taxidermy Guinea Pig.

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Meet Carla.

I laughed until I cried. Being a vet tech you’d think this sort of thing wouldn’t fly with me, but I’m the exact opposite. I find it unbelievably humorous. The pet Guinea pig wasn’t murdered for the reason of being mounted on my wall, she [or he] lived a happy little pig life.

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So, I think I win the strangest Halloween gift recipient contest. If that were a contest.

I can’t forget to mention the fact that this package also contained a vagina pin. The pin that you stick on your clothing, bag, wherever is the exact replica of a vagina. I’m afraid if I post a picture someone will flag my blog post for pornography.

Back to School at Walmart with Pilot G2 Pens

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MyGo2Pen #CollectiveBias

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I don’t know about you, but I am a huge overachiever. I love being organized; creating lists for every day tasks, my goals, for everything! How do I get this done, you ask? Well, I do this by using my go-to pen, Pilot G2, of course; America’s #1 selling pen brand.

The G2 product line includes four point sizes, 20 vibrant color options; it is the only gel ink pen that offers this level of customization – because, after all, pens aren’t one size fits all.

These assortments are only available at Walmart so make sure you get the pen that works just as hard as you do #MyGo2Pen

Only Walmart carries the G2 Premium Gel Roller 10-pack with bonus pen. They also have 4-packs available so make sure you get the pen that works just as hard as you do.

The best part? You can save $.75 on any 4-pack (or larger) of G2 Pens if you shop now in the Back to School Season.

Teddy Soft Baked Filled Snacks

This post was sponsored by Nabisco as part of an Integrated Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.

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This is my first year having to pack a lunch for two kids five days a week. I tried having my older son just have “hot lunch” at school but of course he wasn’t having it. Coming up with new and exciting things each week has been a challenge; I always try to pack mainly healthy things but add in a few fun things for them as well. I’m so excited to have found TEDDY SOFT BAKED Filled Snacks. They’re absolutely adorable and my kids go crazy for them!

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Aria, my three year old, is pretty easy to please when it comes to food. She’s always been the type of kid that will eat pretty much anything in front of her. So when I first showed her the TEDDY SOFT BAKED Filled Snacks I knew she was going to go crazy for them. I was right.

teddybakeseverettNow my almost 5 year old can be a little more picky. He is funny about the different textures in food so I was worried about the filling inside. Once he saw them, he was overly excited about the “cute little bears.” I knew then at least he would try them. Well, he did and loved them. In fact, after having the chocolate flavor he had to go right back for the vanilla.

Of course, one of the cutest moments with the TEDDY SOFT BAKED Filled Snacks happened as soon as I put my camera away. I gave them each one more of the opposite flavor we used in taking pictures. They started to play pretend on the table with them, having them dance around, and talk. It was absolutely adorable. I don’t usually encourage playing with food but it’s hard when the food is adorable little bears!

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TEDDY SOFT BAKED Filled Snacks are made with real ingredients. I feel comfortable giving them to my kids as a snack since they contain real things like milk and eggs! They contain absolutely no high fructose corn syrup, no artificial flavors, and no artificial colors which is another reason they’re allowed in little lunch boxes.

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Next time you’re out and about and need ideas for fun snacks around the house or for your kids lunch boxes make sure you stop at Walmart. TEDDY SOFT BAKED Filled Snacks are available at your local Walmart store in the cookie and cracker isle.

Nabisco is also holding a sweepstakes! Enter below at your chance to win one of twelve $50 Walmart Gift Cards or one of two $200 Grand Prize Walmart Gift Cards!

Nabisco Snacktime Sweepstakes

I-C will randomly select 14 winners from all program entries and will facilitate fulfillment of the winning prizes

Expectation vs. Reality: Aria’s First Day of School

My youngest, Aria, who just turned 3 in June had her first day of school this past week. She’s never been to any type of daycare or structured environment before so naturally I expected a few bumps in the road. She’s stubborn (I wonder where she gets that from, oops) and likes to test boundaries. She watched her brother get dropped off over last year at the school she’s attending so she seemed eager to go and play. She didn’t understand the concept that it wasn’t going to be a free for all. She’s learning. 

I picked her up from her first day and her darling teacher told me she had a rough time with a few tantrums. I expected it as she’s adjusting. Then later in the day the “first day of school” pictures were posted for the parents to see.

I about died. I laughed way too hard, then felt bad for a few seconds, and went back to laughing. This is going to be one of those gems that I can’t wait to show her when she’s older.

photo proof :

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The morning of with her nicely brushed hair and dress that she picked out. The afternoon at school with her hot mess hair and the most painful smile I’ve ever seen.

Now I’m writing this as she’s at her third day of school. Day two didn’t go much better but we’re working with her at home in hopes that she gets the hang of it sooner than later. I know how much she is going to benefit from going to this early preschool but I’m ready to not push it if she’s truly not ready. It’s a huge adjustment for her but I really think she’ll be able to figure it out. 

One Kids Back in School …

My oldest son, who is 4 and a half, went to a 3 day a week part time preschool last year. It was only for a few hours each time he went so I didn’t get the full experience of having a child in school. This year is different and I’m learning a few things.

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Everett started public preschool this year which is 5 days a week and it runs from 8:30 in the morning to 3 o’clock in the afternoon. It’s only the first week but he’s over the moon excited about this new adventure.

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Aria, who just turned 3, is going to be going to the same 3 day a week program that Everett went to last year. Hers doesn’t start for a few more weeks. She’s excited about it when we talk about school but she’s even more excited to not have her brother home during the day. They get along most of the time but there is always some kind of argument over toys, food, electronics, etc. She’s quickly learning that Everett in school means it’s a free for all when it comes to the kids things.

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So now, what am I learning? 

  • It’s amazing how quiet it is in the house with only one kid. It’s overly apparent to me now how much they feed off each other. No fighting and minimal crying.
  • I’m almost less productive when I seem to have more free time. It’s funny how this works but with less distraction around and more time to do things I need to do, I just want to do nothing.
  • Everett is overly independent when he wants to be. I think I was more nervous than him for his first day then he even was. He even used the phrase “Mom, you’ve gotta let me grow up.”
  • The house stays SO much cleaner when my son is in school. This leads me to believe all the times over the summer that he said “Aria made that mess” he was completely full of it.
  • There is an unreal amount of time spent in the car when they don’t offer busses and it’s only going to get worse when she starts school.
  • I’m way less of a morning person than I even thought I was. I’m used to getting up with them and taking my time to wake up and get moving. Now, with places to be at certain times, I actually have to move my ass and I’m not liking it. I work evening shifts so mornings are quite disgusting.

Big changes around here with schedules means major adjustment time for me. I’m one of those people that takes a while to build up a new routine. I’m sure come summer vacation, I’ll have it down.