Thursday, June 28, 2012

Question: Friend dating your sister?

Hey, ladies. I have a situation that I need some input on. A friend of mine and my husband's from high school (he was an usher in our wedding almost 5 years ago) has started pursuing one of my little sisters for dates (via private messages on facebook, she told me about it and has been asking a zillion questions about our friend). She is 7 years younger than us (we've been out of high school for 10 years now so I'll let you do the math). Our friend has not mentioned any of this to us even though we have seen him several times since he started messaging her. It all seems sneaky and creepy. As a first date he invited her skydiving(!) with a bunch of our other friends (my husband wanted to go but we already had plans to visit a friend in a neighboring state the weekend they are doing it so our friend knows we won't be there) but she declined the invitation.

My husband and I are not really in favor of them dating for several reasons:
  • the 7 year age difference
  • she is my little sister (I am protective of all 4 of my sisters and my little brother, my husband has known her since she was 10 and thinks of her as a little sister, too)
  • some things I don't want to mention here about my friend (he is good friend material, but not boyfriend material, in my opinion)
  • it will make hanging out with our friends awkward when they are around together
  • if there is a break up it could alter/end our friendship
The thought of the whole thing makes me pretty angry and uncomfortable. My husband feels the same way. My sister is flattered and clearly enjoys the attention from an older guy. How would you feel in this situation? She is over 18, but SHE IS MY LITTLE SISTER! Isn't there an unspoken rule between friends about not dating eachother's little sisters? Am I overreacting? They have only met twice (5 years ago at our wedding when my sister was 16 and 4 years ago at a concert they both happened to be at when my sister was 17). They hadn't had any other contact until he friended her on facebook and started messaging her at the beginning of May. She had a pretty bad break-up a year and a half ago and hasn't dated anyone since. He hasn't been in a relationship since 5 years ago when he had a bad break-up from a pretty serious relationship (we liked his girlfriend! they gave us a rice cooker as a wedding gift!). What would you say to my sister? I haven't been the most supportive of the idea and she keeps asking me the same things over again like she wants me to change my answers. Would you say anything to our friend?

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What I did differently

I know there was a lot of luck involved in us getting pregnant in April. There was also a lot of prayer (I truly believe my Grandma had something to do with it! When we told her we were pregnant she said, "There's only one baby in there? With how hard I've been praying I was expecting at least two!").

In addition to luck and prayers, I made some pretty big changes to my diet and daily habits in the 3-4 months prior to Ponyo. I made the changes because I wanted to feel like I was doing something to increase our chances of success even though my husband and I had both resigned ourselves to the fact that nothing would be possible until after my laparoscopy. I am by no means a medical expert, and I don't claim to be, but here are the changes I made based on what a friend dealing with infertility told me, lots of research online, and reading these books:

The Infertility Cure: The Ancient Chinese Wellness Program for Getting Pregnant and Having Healthy Babies by Randine Lewis  

Recipes for the Endometriosis Diet by Carolyn Levett 

Endometriosis: A Key to Healing and Fertility Through Nutrition by Dian Shepperson Mills & Michael Vernon

The 9-Day Liver Detox Diet by Patrick Holford and Fiona McDonald Joyce

First, what my friend told me: She and her husband were seeing a specialist who was trained in NFP. Their doctor told them that over 30% of couples struggling with infertility conceive after 3 months of taking this combination of vitamins:

Vitamin C (1000 mg)
Calcium made with D3 (500mg)
D3 (2000 I.U.)
Magnesium (250 mg)
Stress B-Complex
Zinc (30 mg)
(My friend also took Flaxseed oil, which I skipped due to the warning about blood clotting and surgery risks)

I did some research and found that endometriosis and low progesterone can be linked to deficiencies in some of these vitamins (especially Magnesium). PCOS is also affected by these vitamins! I picked up the vitamins and the nice pharmacist at the grocery store even gave me a pill case to use so I wouldn't have to open 6 bottles every night when I took my many pills with dinner. I also gave my husband the same Vitamin C and D3 that I was taking as well as a normal multivitamin. Maybe it was a coincidence, but both my friend and I are now pregnant (due about 3 weeks apart) after both of us trying for about 2 years, which seems too weird.

I did some simple liver detox. In The Infertility Cure, I read that endometriosis can be caused by "stagnation of the liver." Sounds awesome, right? So I decided to read The 9-Day Liver Detox Diet. The detox book listed 5 habits to break:
1. Wheat
2. Milk
3. Caffeine
4. Alcohol
5. Bad fats

Interestingly, ALL FIVE of these things are to be avoided by women dealing with endometriosis (as mentioned in Recipes for the Endometriosis Diet and Endometriosis: A Key to Healing and Fertility Through Nutrition). So, I got super serious about going gluten free. No more cookies. No more sandwiches, or Triscuits (my fave snack!), or pita bread, or traditional pasta. I cut back on dairy. No more Kefir, limited cheese, limited yogurt, limited ice cream. I stopped drinking coffee, tea and alcohol. Once you cut out all of that, you pretty much cut out all bad fats, too, so that was taken care of!

I started drinking lemon water every morning. I started eating at least one serving of broccoli, spinach, or kale every day (these green veggies are good for you and also are known to help your body get rid of excess estrogens). 

To help rid my body of even more excess estrogen (excess estrogen is what causes endometriosis) I started using natural body products. I gave up scented soaps and used Kirk's Castile which is a coconut and vegetable glycerin soap. I started making my own deodorant out of coconut oil, baking soda, and arrowroot powder (I do still use normal deodorant for working out or very hot days even though the coconut deodorant works really well). I am still using my normal make-up and shampoo/conditioner although I am thinking of moving to healthier brands after I use everything I already have.

Because this post is getting so long, I'll do another where I'll write about the results I noticed after the changes.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Summertime summertime sum sum summertime

I've been done teaching for about a week and a half and finished closing my classroom for the summer last Thursday! I still have some curriculum mapping (ugh, gag me!) to complete for work by the end of this month, but otherwise I am done with school until August! I haven't made much progress on my summer plans (reading, painting, major cleaning, embroidering, cooking, yoga) due to some family situations (a death and some relatives who have needed some unexpected child care coverage) but things are probably going to start calming down now.

We had our blood work done last Wednesday and everything came back fine. One strange thing, which the nurse repeatedly told me was NOTHING TO WORRY ABOUT, is that my Measles, Mumps, and Rubella vaccination has worn off. So, I no longer have the antibodies to protect me against those illnesses and they can't give me the vaccination until after delivery. Apparently the vaccination wears off for some people over the course of time. So, I am just trying not to worry and in August I'll check in with the school nurse to make sure all of my students are current on their vaccinations. We were surprised that they did a second ultrasound at the blood work appointment so we were lucky to see that Ponyo has been growing right on track. My doctor was a little concerned about my protein intake since I am vegetarian and gluten free. If I don't gain weight on track or there is any concern with Ponyo's growth I will need to talk to a nutritionist at some point. For now, everything looks fine, though. Tonight we are attending a mandatory early pregnancy class at the clinic. It should be interesting. I think it is just a Q&A session type of thing.

We are still holding off telling friends and extended family our news for a few more weeks. We have told our parents, siblings, and grandparents, now, though, which is nice. Still hoping and praying that everything goes well and still hoping and praying for every one of you. I think about all of you often (is that creepy or weird? oh well).

Wednesday, June 6, 2012


Today we had our first pregnancy ultrasound (definitely not my first ultrasound, though, given the 2 pelvic ultrasounds and several follicle ultrasounds I've had along this journey). When I arrived I had to give a urine sample (not sure what they are testing with that) and I was told blood labs would be drawn after the ultrasound.

The ultrasound tech was very nice. She asked some routine questions: When was the first day of your last menstrual period? April 7. Did you conceive using fertility drugs? No. Have you had any spotting or bleeding? No. Do you have any concerns? Well, I was supposed to be having surgery for endometriosis tomorrow so we hope everything is where it should be. Then she smiled and said, Oh so we just need to threaten surgery and then you get pregnant, huh? I guess so...

She found the baby right away and we saw the heartbeat immediately. Thankfully everything is inside of my uterus - no concerns about this being an ectopic pregnancy anymore. Then she said they had to measure my cervix, which she didn't tell me anything about. Hopefully it is how it is supposed to be! Then she went back to the baby and measured the heartbeat. It came in on the fast end of normal at 198bpm and then later at 189bpm. I started crying, partially out of happiness and relief and partially out of concern over the fast heartbeat. She said it wasn't anything to worry about; a fast heartbeat is generally better than a slow one and it could just mean that the baby had been moving around. We got to see arm buds and leg buds as well as the yolk sack, the beginning of the umbilical cord and placenta. The baby was upside down and wiggled a few times. That made me laugh. She measured the baby and on first measurement said 8w6d but then measured again at 8w4d (which is right on track).

She also checked my ovaries. My right ovary was easy to find. I asked about the cysts (my chocolate cysts or endometrioma) and she pointed to a dark circle on my right ovary and said that was likely one of them. She had trouble finding my left ovary so I mentioned that at my last follicle ultrasound in January the ultrasound tech said my ovaries were very close together and then she found it, right next to my right ovary. I will be asking if my ovaries being so close together 1. is anything to worry about and 2. could be caused endometrial tissue binding my organs together. I'll have to wait to ask that, though, because my doctor was out delivering a baby during our appointment so we are going back next Wednesday to meet with her and do the blood work that we were supposed to do today. 

Thank you all for your hope, support, and prayers; they mean so much to us! We hope that things continue to go well and that little Ponyo (that is what we named them for now so we don't have to call our little one "the baby, " "it" or "baby") grows healthy and strong. For anyone wondering where Ponyo came from, yes, it is from the movie of that title. Ponyo was a magical goldfish-girl and we know this baby is quite a miracle. Translated to English, Ponyo loosely means soft, squishy, and chubby.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The hurt doesn't end

Yesterday The Bee and I attended a birthday party for a friend's 2-year-old twins. We love the family and my BFF and her husband are close to them, too. The three of us girls have known each other since 6th grade and our now husbands have become friends through our close relationships. Part way through the party our friend (with the twins and also a 3-year-old) approached the four of us and said,

"I wanted to share something with you. There is this place that is NFP based and they can help you, you know, since you can't do In Vitro or anything. I can't remember what it is called, though. Hold on, let me ask K."

K is her father-in-law. So she drags him over to where we are sitting and he starts talking about NaPro Technology and how they find out "what is wrong with you" and help you "without unnatural intervention." So here are the four of us getting fertility advice from our friend's father-in-law in the middle of a birthday party. We told this friend about some of our struggle IN CONFIDENCE. All she knows is that we have been trying to conceive since August 2010 and that things haven't gone as planned. She doesn't know anything about us seeing specialists, or my MRI, blood tests, ultrasounds, endometriosis diagnosis, the surgery I was supposed to be having at the end of this week...

It felt like a huge breach of trust. After he finished talking to us (and to his credit, I believe he was trying to be considerate and helpful...he doesn't know that our friend shouldn't have shared info about what we are going through) my friend started up again talking about how bad most fertility treatments are and how Catholic people can't do IVF. I sat there with my lips mostly zipped. This friend knows that our niece and nephew were IVF encouraged. Also, she has no idea what it is like to struggle with infertility. She got pregnant with her 3-year-old within 4 months of starting to try and then got pregnant with twin girls BY SURPRISE less than a year after their first daughter was born. To say I was steamed by her comments is an understatement. All I really added to the conversation was that, yes, I already know about NaPro Technology because one of my cousins worked with Thomas W. Hilgers (the doctor who is kind of the head of NaPro Technology) in Nebraska when she was finishing her residency while becoming a doctor.

I am still hoping and praying for good news on Wednesday. And you can bet your bottom dollar that I won't be sharing our (hopefully) good news with this friend until the beginning of our second trimester.