Keeping Positive While Pregnant Over 35 or 40

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week, I asked my friend Cynthia Wilson James to write a lovely piece on staying positive while pregnant over 35 or 40. Take Cynthia’s words of wisdom for a spin, there’s much value in her words having already walked those miles. 

There is not an expectant mother alive who hasn’t had some anxiety about her baby’s health. Movies, books, television, the nosy woman in the hair salon tell birth horror stories that increase a pregnant woman’s anxiety.

An expectant mom over 35 is hit with a double dose of anxiety.  She worries about her baby’s health and worries about the role her age will play in her baby’s health.

Here are three guidelines to help you remain positive during your over 35+ pregnancy:

1.  Realize “their” medical history is not “your” medical history.
The first words out of your doctor’s mouth may not be congratulations but may be a list of statistics citing an increased risk of high blood pressure, diabetes, cesarean birth and chromosomal defects for older moms.

The findings in these studies are based on pregnant women over 35 as a group. Unless you were a part of one of these studies, the results do not reflect your individual history.

It’s important for an expectant mom over 35 and 40 to select an obstetrician or midwife

Cynthia Wilson James InSeason Mom

Cynthia Wilson James
InSeason Mom

who respects her right to have her pregnancy viewed individually.

2.  Limit your contact with negative influences.
One thing I love about babies and toddlers is that when they see or hear something they don’t like, they cover their ears or turn their heads away from the thing.  Expectant moms over 35 and 40 must learn to apply this concept, of course, not necessarily the actions. Continue reading

Honoring National Infertility Awareness Week

Here we are in the middle of National Infertility Awareness Week 2012. I’d like to share a funny and inspiring infertility story. For those that belong to the exclusive infertility club, where no one wants membership, our story is no different than any other couple.

Trying Once Again
It’s February 2008. We were trying for our second child and growing weary dealing with male and female factor infertility this time around. We did our best to make one another laugh at the ridiculous and always embarrassing side of being barren.

It was the morning of our Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). Bright and early, my husband was at the andrology lab, providing his deposit, where he started to feel like Norm from Cheers.

The Guy’s Etiquette Guide to the Andrology Lab

  1. Do not make eye contact in the reception area.
  2. Speak barely above a grunt to check-in at the front desk.
  3. Refrain from singing or humming the song, “Hav’in My Baby.”
  4. Last, but certainly not least Never, NEVER, N-E-V-E-R open a closed door. Can you believe the rooms did not have locks?

I went in two hours later spinning the nurse practitioner (NP) wheel wondering who would grace me with her presence, ask me to disrobe from the waist down, give me a paper sheet the size of a oversized napkin to “cover” myself and then make me wait in that cold, cold room. A NP enters rattling off my husband’s sperm stats like the box score from a baseball game: count, motility and morphology. She completes the insemination, sets an egg timer, how ironic, for 20 minutes and leaves me with my thoughts. Continue reading

Surviving Infertility: The Dark, the Humorous, the Supportive

Being diagnosed with infertility, whether male or female factor, is a devastating diagnosis. I heard those words not once but twice, 2004 with my husband’s male factor and once again with my diagnosis in 2007.

I knew more than I wanted to know about my husband’s sperm: count, motility and morphology…we commonly referred to it as the wicked trifecta. Certainly takes the romance out of conceiving a baby. Then in 2007, I was diagnosed with Elevated Follicle Stimulating Hormone (FSH). In normal “Joe Bag of Doughnuts Speak,” my diagnosis meant that I was running out of eggs and my egg quality was diminished due to my advanced age of 38. As a result of my old and decrepit eggs walking around with canes, my possibility of miscarriage skyrocketed.

Sitting in my reproductive endocrinologist’s (RE) office and hearing his words made my head spin. In my younger years, I could have majored in passing out and I also came from a long lineage of passer outers. Between my sister and I bets were placed at the beginning of every Mass. Continue reading

Bounce Back from the Big Fat Negative (BFN)

Chess

Develop each move as some moves are in your control.

Some of us know all too well what a Big Fat Negative is…others are wondering what I’m talking about. A BFN is a negative pregnancy test, which cannot be confused with a BFP, a Big Fat Positive test.

Many times when working with clients I like to come up with a “Top 10” list for their challenge. Recently, an infertility client said to me, “Please develop a Top 10 list for recovering from BFNs…I’m crippled each month it happens.”

There’s no doubt about it, struggling with infertility is a rollercoaster ride. The beginning of a cycle is so focused on doctor appointments, medications, blood draws and ultrasounds. Then your IUI or egg retrieval and embryo transfer happens and you have to wait two weeks for “The Answer.” Even if you are trying naturally, all the monitoring gets old very quick.

What I remember about BFNs is that some months I was able to take it in stride and plan for the next cycle. While other months left me anxious and weepy into the next cycle. Not a good thing when wanting to be open and radiate positivity in support of your mind and body to do its best work.

So what can you do to honor your disappointment and sadness, yet pave the way for positivity in the next month? Reference this list, or develop your own, to keep yourself focused and on target: Continue reading

It Takes Two: Male Factor Infertility

Guest Blog Entry by: Kara Yorkhall, L.Ac, MaOM

Whenever a woman comes to my office seeking Chinese medicine treatment for infertility, I always inquire whether her male partner has had a semen analysis. As it turns out male factor infertility or MFI is a involved in up to 50% of all documented infertility cases. Therefore, obtaining a thorough semen analysis is always a valuable component to understanding the whole picture of a couple’s fertility. A semen analysis should not only check the sperm count, or the total number of sperm in an ejaculate sample but also sperm morphology, motility, and the pH and viscosity of the seminal fluid, as well as other measures.

The Western Approach
There are relatively few Western medical treatment options available to men struggling with infertility. The majority of cases are treated using IVF with ICSI (the injection of selected sperm into the egg in vitro). Structural problems are usually best treated with surgery, and hormonal therapies are sometimes recommended as well.

The Eastern Approach
Similar to treatment of female infertility Traditional Chinese Medicine has shown to be an effective treatment modality for treatment of male factor infertility. As with treatment of other conditions, the effectiveness of Traditional Chinese Medicine treatment relies on developing a proper diagnosis and corresponding treatment. Acupuncture and herbal and food therapy based on the individual patient’s constitution is essential. There are also some basic lifestyle changes and supplements that all men could incorporate into their routine.

Continue reading

Mind+Body Connection and Fertility

Guest Blogger: Sue Cooke, Co-CEO Circle + Bloom

The true story of a little boy named Garrett has to be one of the most inspiring examples on the power of a vivid imagination and the mind body intelligence to self-heal. Garrett had an inoperable brain tumor and after intense radiation treatments the tumor sat basically untouched. His doctors said to his parents “we have done everything we can do, so take him home and make him as comfortable as you can. It is terminal.”

His parents decided to not give up on their boy and they took him to the Biofeedback Center at the Menninger Clinic, where he was taught self-regulation techniques, which is how to control his body with his mind through imagery exercises. He went home with the imagery audio tape the clinic gave him to continue his self-regulation techniques at home. Garrett quickly decided the tape was very boring and created his own new imagery to use.

He made it exciting and fun, setting it up like a video game with rocket ships soaring through his head and shooting his tumor. He imaged the cancer as “a big round dumb-looking thing” and blasted at it regularly. He kept up his game, many times with out adults knowing, and one day, months later, he woke up and realized he could no longer find the “big round dumb-looking thing.” When he told his father the news, his farther was concerned that Garrett had given up. His father tried to help him concentrate and find the tumor, but Garrett just kept telling his Dad that there was only a “normal brain in his head.”

It took a fall down a set of stairs until Garrett received another CAT scan to check for a skull fracture. The scan showed results that were truly unbelievable to the doctors who had treated Garrett: The tumor was entirely gone. Continue reading

Manage Health ~ Optimize Chances

Guest Blog Appearance: Dr. Tye Moe of Whole Family Chiropractic

Struggling to conceive is such an overwhelming time, so many choices, and many unknowns. Utilizing a holistic approach certainly can aid you in your efforts.

There are a couple of things that can be overlooked when it comes to a couple struggling with fertility. One question is, how well are each of your bodies functioning neurologically? A second question, are your bodies as strong and healthy as they could be to help promote conception? Sometimes we all just need a little oomph to help us along.

While many things affect function, one area of special interest is the brain-body connection (neurological function). Everything in your body works because your brain tells it what to do. For example, each month an egg is released from one of your ovaries. This does not occur by random chance, it occurs because a series of messages from your brain to your body parts allow it to happen.

If there is disturbance to the brain-body connection, this process is negatively affected. What is especially important for fertility is the brain-body connection to the reproductive organs and the hormone producing glands. Continue reading

Kristin Beltaos on WCCO-TV Comments on IVFPredict.com

Smartphone App Touts It Can Calculate Women’s Fertility

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — These days, it seems there’s an app for everything, and there is a recent technology that is aimed at couples struggling with infertility.

On the website IVFpredict.com, British researchers devised an online calculator that detects your odds of conceiving a baby through in-vitro fertilization, or IVF.

Scientists from the Universities of Glasgow and Bristol analyzed more than 144,000 IVF cycles and came up with nine questions for couples, including a woman’s age, IVF history, pregnancy history and years trying to get pregnant. The researchers say your answers predict your IVF success rate, a percentage that can soon be downloaded to your smart phone.

“I have a 14.4 percent chance of conceiving using IVF at the age of 41,” said Kristin Beltaos, a Maple Grove mother of two, who took the online test.

View the full article and the video clip