Showing posts with label pregnancy and birth. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pregnancy and birth. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Cloth diapering may have fallen out of style for awhile, but it's the historical norm and it's back with a vengeance! For good reason, too: cloth diapers are economical, eco-friendly, and just plain cute. There are so many crazy terms and techniques involved with cloth diapering, however, so if you're just getting started - here's what you need to know.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Adorable newborn baby photo

When I told my husband I wanted a doula for the birth of our second child, Joe was more than a little hesitant. 

Even after he met my doula, Marta, he still wasn't sold. 

Not because he didn't like Marta - but because he still wasn't sure why I felt like I needed a doula if he was going to be present at the birth. 

After our baby was here, though (read my birth story here), things changed significantly and Joe has become the biggest advocate for doulas that I know. 

Each time we find out a pair of our friends is expecting, he immediately turns to the husband and says "You need to make sure you hire a doula for your wife - trust me."

Since Joe has become such a huge advocate of doulas, I asked him to write his thoughts down for me so he could share a husband or birth partner's perspective about why doulas were so beneficial to the birth process. 

If you are a husband or birth partner, I hope you find this to be beneficial. Please feel free to ask Joe questions in the comments as well!
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Four reasons why you should hire a doula

Watching my wife endure pain is stressful for me.

It's stressful for any guy. 

Especially when I can't fix it, don't know what's normal, don't know what's a problem, and don't know when to intervene and rescue. 

No matter how many birth videos, or birth books I may read, it all tends to go out the window when the person who is my emotional support system is screaming.

That is why every guy will thank themselves for getting a doula to help them through the birth process. 

A doula is a coach. A doula equals both convenience and peace of mind.

Here are my top four reasons why you, the husband, need to hire a doula.

1) Nurses and doctors will continually come and go, but a doula will stick around.

Doctors operate on their own schedule but a doula is there for you through the whole process.

2) I can't rightly ask a doctor to help me and hand me a wet cloth to brush my wife's forehead, but I can ask the doula to help me.

This is huge since many pain management techniques impair mobility of one or both partners.

3) When I feel like everything is chaos, the doula can say, "this is normal,” or “try this."

As the birthing expert, my wife will believe her before she believes me.

This really helps both soon-to-be parents to let go of their worry and relax, which in turn helps labor progress.

4) With a doula present I felt at liberty to leave the room for a breather without feeling guilty.

It might be to get a drink, use the bathroom, or just decompress with a brief lap around the ward. The point is my wife is not abandoned with no one to help her.

The saying goes that the first time the wife hires the doula, but the second time the husband does.

Don't let the price tag make you blind to the help you both need.

Many doulas will work out payment arrangements with you to help fit the cost more easily into your budget.

If you’re in the Portland, Oregon area, I highly recommend our doula, Marta of Dragonfly Doula. Do yourself a favor and get in touch with her or a doula in your part of the country today. You'll both be glad you did.

About the Author: 
Joe describes himself as a skeptical researcher and a hesitant convert to an eco-friendly lifestyle. While many of the healthy choices his family makes were initially driven by his wife, Joe has come to embrace several greener lifestyle changes after seeing the financial and health benefits firsthand.

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Thursday, August 7, 2014

Giving birth is a wonderful, magical time. Your little baby is soft and squishy and you wonder at his tiny little fingers and toes. 

But make no mistake - the first few weeks after giving birth can be pretty rough on mom. Between leaky boobs, a sore bottom (or incision if she had a c-section), and just wanting your baby to be happy to not be held for 5 minutes so you can pee - moms have a lot going on. 

Whether you are a first time mom, a veteran or a friend just looking to help out, here are my recommendations for the top 10 things I think every mom should have to make her either feel a little better or make her life easier in the first 3 months after giving birth. 

Please note: I have personally used and love every product recommended. Some companies may have provided sample items free of charge for the purpose of consideration, however, companies were not able to purchase a spot in this guide and I was not paid by any of these companies for my review. All recommendations are 100% my own.

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

When I was pregnant with my second baby, I wanted to be sure to take great care of my skin. While your tendency to get stretch marks is determined in large part by your genetics, there are definitely things you can do to support your skin to help it adapt as your baby grows! When I was pregnant, I spent time researching oils that supported skin healing and stretching and came up with this concoction. I would apply it in the evenings, after showering - being sure to take my time to massage it into my skin with my fingertips. I did this so that my skin could absorb it while I was sleeping (a naturally healing time for your skin anyway!) and by morning my skin would just be soft and not at all oily.

In addition to using this oil, I was very good about drinking water and taking my prenatal vitamin so my skin was supported from both the inside and outside. While I did get stretch marks from my first baby, as far as I can tell I didn't get any new ones with my second pregnancy and my skin's texture is soft instead of dry or stressed looking.


Some of the links in my supply lists may be affiliate links. 


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Dragonfly Doula.

(if you missed Part 1 of A's Birth Story, read it here)

When we left off, I'd just endured a crazy day where I was in labor for 15 hours - which then abruptly stopped. 


After enduring 15 hours of labor and having nothing happen, I was a little frustrated. The following day, I told Joe to go back to work since I didn't want to use up his vacation time without having the baby. I also avoided going to church that day since I didn't want to answer a bajilion questions about why I was still pregnant.

Waiting was also surreal because even though I'd had some Braxton Hicks contractions a few times a day for the last few weeks, after the day I had contractions for 15 hours, there was nothing. NOTHING. It was like time stopped. And my body stopped. And I was stuck. 

Marta was good at encouraging me during this time. She would check in on me via text and see how I was doing, how doctor visits were going, etc. My doctor checked me at my appointment with her that Monday and I was 5cm dialated and 70% effaced. She told me that if I started having rhythmic contractions again to just come into the hospital because she was worried I might not make it on time.

And then the itch came back

I talked in Part 1 about how I'd developed a mild case of ICP that was able to be controlled by taking Dandelion Root and Milk Thistle supplements. So much so that my itching had pretty much disappeared 4 weeks after starting to take it. On June 5th (a thursday), I noticed I was starting to get itchy again. I'd gone swimming that day and thought maybe the chlorine was just irritating my skin and I needed more lotion. 

After two days and lots of lotion, I decided that wasn't it and the ICP might be coming back. At this point, I was 38 weeks. ICP babies are supposed to be delivered before 38 weeks so that made me a little nervous. On Monday, I told my doctor what was happening. She ordered labs and put a rush on them but the fractioned bile acid test takes so long to come back that if I did have ICP, the baby could be in danger before we got the results.

She had Tuesday off but said to call her Wednesday morning and tell her how I felt. If I felt the same, she thought we should ride it out to the end of the week but if I was worse we should look at getting the baby out ASAP. The good news was that because I was so dilated, she was optimistic that she'd only need to break my water to get labor started. 

Wednesday, June 11

Tuesday night I didn't sleep more than a few hours due to the intense itching as well as a weird pain that had developed in my right arm that was worse when I was lying down. So Wednesday morning I was tired. And itchy. I spent the morning cleaning my house and texting with both Marta and my family before calling my doctor to update her around 11am. I had to leave a voicemail but when I got a call back I was told that the maternity ward was short staffed that day. My doctor thought we should really move on getting the baby out, though, so talked to the charge nurse and asked to be updated as soon as they had a bed and a nurse for me. The charge nurse worked her magic and I was told to come in around 4pm to get checked in.

The IV that hated me

We headed to the hospital with K in tow. Once I was checked in and settled in the room, my dad and stepmom came to collect K. They visited for a bit and then headed out to take K back to their house.

Because I tested positive for Group B Strep, I needed an IV to get a dose of antibiotics into me before they tried to start labor. A couple labor nurses tried to start one on my left arm - and it didn't work. Another nurse tried on my right arm - no dice either. They then called the IV Therapy Nurse - a nurse who only does IVs all. day. long. Kind of like the special ops of IVs. She tried 3 times and even she couldn't get the IV in my arm. If I weren't strep B positive, I'm sure we would have stopped trying at that point but since the risk of Strep B disease in babies is pretty high if you skip the antibiotics, we really needed to make it happen. She tried one more time on the back of my hand (a less ideal location for a mom wanting to do a waterbirth) and finally got it.

Once that was in, my doctor came back to break my water and the nurses hooked me up the the IV antibiotics. I was sitting on a pile of towels on my bed setting up a game of The Settlers of Catan on my hospital table when Marta came in. We didn't get much further than a couple dice rolls in before my head started itching. I didn't think much about it at first until it started itching so bad that I could no longer play the game. After about five minutes the itching spread to my face and neck, we called my nurse to tell her we thought I was allergic to the antibiotic.

The nurse rushed in and unhooked my IV and handed me a cold towel for my face. When she checked my IV bag, she saw that we'd only done about 2/3 of it. During the sensitivity test for Strep B, they determined that this antibiotic was really the best one for the strain of Strep B I had and we really needed to get the rest of it into me. After a consult with my doctor, they gave me a shot of bennadryl in my IV and then dilluted the rest of the antibiotic in saline to prevent the reaction called Red Man Syndrome - which is different than an allergy.

And then it started

Once the antibiotic was done, my nurse came back to disconnect the IV and take the monitors they'd had strapped to my belly off. I headed to the bathroom and put my underwear and pants back on (with a pad) since that was more comfortable for me than wearing a gown or walking around with a naked butt.

It wasn't much later, at about 7:30pm, when the contractions started. Timing them was hard because it was hard to tell when they ended because I didn't feel like my uterus was relaxing all the way in between. I was standing up to rock back and forth through them but all I really wanted to do was sit down. A nurse brought me a labor ball to sit on - which was awesome because I could sit and rock at the same time. 

I was sitting on the ball, facing Joe - who was sitting on my bed. Leaning forward toward Joe and pushing on his legs really helped. Joe would later tell me that he was kind of freaked out by the whole thing but that Marta really kept him grounded by affirming me and confirming for Joe that everything that was happening was normal. At this point, I would have gotten in the tub if I could but they needed some time to fill it up and get it ready. 

Tub time

Once the tub was ready, they had to move me down the hall to the room where it was. At this point, contractions were pretty steady and I'd been coping with them mostly by pushing on Joe. Once the contraction I was working on stopped, I started down the hall as fast as my pregnant legs could waddle. The nurse commented that there wasn't a rush and I could take my time - but I just wanted to get there before I started having more contractions!

I had two big contractions in the hall before making it to the room with the tub. Joe helped me go to the bathroom and get out of my clothes except my bra. A nurse helped me put a glove on my hand to protect my IV and then I was finally able to get in the tub. And I felt SO much better. For about 10 minutes.

Ten minutes after getting in the tub, contractions picked up again and because I was in the water and the tub was squishy, I had to find a new coping technique since pushing on things wasn't helping since they weren't firm or providing much resistance. At that point, Joe ran back to our room to switch into swim trunks so he could stand behind me in the pool and do hip squeezes which was the only thing that was providing additional relief (other than the water).

Having Marta was really invaluable at this point because when Joe needed a break - either to go change, to use the bathroom or just to walk a lap or two around the room, Marta was able to take over helping me. In a room full of people - a doctor, a midwife, 2 labor nurses, a baby nurse plus me, Joe and Marta - it was great to have someone whose only job was to help me.

Now, you may have seen videos of waterbirth on YouTube where it's very zen. It's dark, there are candles, mom is kind of gently moaning and then all of a sudden she pulls a baby up out of the water. My waterbirth was not like that. It may have been the least zen waterbirth ever (although my blogging friend Lauren had a similar experience just 3 days before me so at least I'm not alone). In fact, later my husband told me he thought I was freaking out the nurses since I was screaming so much.

I also entered about 45 minutes of what I can only describe as "crazy birth delirium" where I was screaming and in pain and cursing at the doppler deal they use to check the baby - because my baby was so low they had to push the doppler into the soft part of my belly to try and hear his heartrate and it HURT. Honestly, that stupid doppler was the worst part of the whole experience. I felt kind of pushy but then I felt like pushing wasn't doing anything. I kept saying the baby was stuck. At one point I had a conversation with my doctor that went about like this:

Me: Ok. I don't want to get out. And I don't want an epidural. But I need some kind of pain meds.

Doctor: There are no pain meds.

Me: No, seriously. Someone has pain meds somewhere. I don't need an epidural, I just need a little extra help.

Doctor: Carissa, I really can't give you anything. It will go straight to the baby. You're almost there.

Me: No, but I need options. What are my options?

Marta was great at keeping Joe calm at this point, as well. Joe knew I was in pain but wasn't sure how much was normal and wasn't sure why I'm suddenly trying to negotiate with my doctor for pain meds when I'm not normally a pain med person. At one point I said I was quitting and couldn't do it anymore. All of this is normal and Marta was great and helping him know that and stay calm during that part, too.

After the 45 minutes of delirium and whining about the baby being stuck, something changed and he was suddenly RIGHT THERE. I told my sister in law this the next day so I'll tell you in case you've never experienced giving birth without meds:  pushing out a baby feels exactly like taking the hugest poop of your life - and it's about the size of a small bowling ball. Literally. It's not hyperbole. It's not a metaphor. It really feels like you're pooping out a bowling ball. 

I remember consciously trying to relax so he could come out on his own but it also hurt so much I just wanted it to be over. So when I started having a contraction, I pushed as much as a could. And then the contraction stopped and I kind of panicked - worrying that he was going to go back in and all my work would have been in vain so I tried to use my muscles to hold him in place until the next contraction came. I'm not sure this was really the best idea as far as birthing techniques that are good for babies but all in all, I only had to push for 10 minutes before he came out and I finally had him in my arms.

Baby A

Born June 11, 2014 at 10:52pm
9 pounds, 13 ounces.
21 1/2 inches long.

Why I'm glad this didn't happen at home

If you read my first birth story for Baby K, you could see that I have a tendency to collect unusual medical issues - which is exactly why I didn't want to have the baby at home. A couple minutes after he was born, the cord stopped pulsing so Joe was able to cut it. The placenta was born a few minutes later. But then the nurses noticed there was a lot of blood in the water. Joe took the baby and the nurses helped me onto a bed that they'd pushed right next to the tub. I got out and started shaking (Marta said this is a normal birth thing - although I totally don't remember it happening with K) and my doctor was better able to examine me.

I got a shot of something in my IV to stop the bleeding before she put in some stitches for the second degree tear I had (another reason why only pushing for 10 minutes was not a fabulous idea). Once that was done, I got the baby back and were able to spend time snuggling for about 2 hours before they finished cleaning us up to do weight and height check for A and footprints for the birth certificate.

Would I do it again?

I was asked the next day if I enjoyed my waterbirth experience. My answer to which was, " 'Enjoy' is not really a word I think can be used to describe any vaginal birth experience for most women" (sorry). But I will say I don't think I could have made it through epidural free without the help of the tub and the support I got from Marta and Joe.

Overall, I'm glad I have a healthy baby and I'm so glad I got to work with Marta. If you are looking for a doula in the Portland, Oregon area, I really can't recommend her highly enough. Check out her website, Dragonfly Doula or her facebook page. She did a great job asking questions and supporting both me and Joe through the whole process from end of pregnancy to the day I was in labor but didn't have the baby, through actually giving birth in the hospital. If cost is a concern, be sure to talk to her anyway. She offers reduced rates for moms on WIC as well as for single moms.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Dragonfly Doula.

I mentioned a couple months ago when I told you K's Birth Story (read it here), that there were a few things we wanted to do differently the second time around. It was a rough journey but I made it through and don't think I'd change anything in the end.

I didn't want an epidural

Honestly. Five years ago I would have told myself I was crazy to give birth sans meds. The truth is, though, that the epidural I had for my first baby was far from the fabulousness that moms hear about. It was not a pain free childbirth.

First, it wore off to the tune of about 20% efficacy by the time I was pushing out a 10+ pound baby. Which may not be awful in and of itself, except for the fact that it wasn't covered by my insurance and that sucker cost me a little more than $1000. I definitely did not get $1000 of pain relief out of it. 

Second, the after birth side effects were kind of awful. Following the birth, I would sporadically get these pains that felt like a shock from a lightening bolt shoot up my spine from the insertion site up to my brain. They HURT and they were unpredictable. And there was nothing my doctor could do. It's just a known side effect of epidurals. And it was awful. I really didn't want to go through that again.

Strategy 1: Work with a Doula

When I evaluated why I ended up with an epidural last time it was because I was unprepared and didn't feel like I had anyone to help me cope. For K's birth, I had my sister (who had a better epidural experience), my stepmom (who has not birthed a baby herself) and my father and husband - both of whom just looked worried. All great people - just not helpful in dealing with birth pain! I decided I needed an expert who knew more about natural birth than me and who could assist me with techniques and things to try to make it through an epidural free birth.

I knew even before I had become pregnant that I was going to want a doula but at 20 weeks pregnant I found myself doula-less still. I'll write more about how I found my doula in a minute, but let me say that I do wish I'd found my doula sooner. Don't procrastinate like me.

Strategy 2: Waterbirth

My second strategy for avoiding an epidural was to attempt a waterbirth - or giving birth in a warm water tub. Most waterbirths that happen in the United States currently happen at home but due to my tendency to have crazy crazy medical things go wrong with me, home birth just isn't for me. Plus I love my doctor and she delivers babies in hospitals. 

We brought up the idea of waterbirth to my doctor at our first prenatal appointment and were really happy to learn that the Legacy Good Samaritan hospital in downtown Portland was creating a dedicated waterbirth unit on the maternity floor. My doctor also happens to deliver there so it worked out well all around.   

Finding Marta

At about 16 weeks pregnant, I started looking for a doula. The primary places I looked were on Craig's List and by Googling "Doula Portland." After looking at some websites and trying to get a feel for these women online, I found a few that I thought were potential candidates. I shot off some emails to them with info about me and asked them some questions about their experience with waterbirth. They each wrote me back but then I got busy and never followed up.

At 30 weeks I realized I needed to get on this doula business ASAP. I met one doula at at indoor playground so my son could play and I could talk to her without being interrupted every 3 minutes. She was young, nice, and had about 8 years of experience as a doula. While I really valued her history of experience and I thought she was the kind of person I'd probably want to be friends with, a couple things she said made me pause and feel like she might not be 100% on board with what I wanted for my birth. 

A couple weeks later my husband, four year old and I met Marta of Dragonfly Doula at a restaurant in downtown Portland. Even though Marta was a newer doula and had only recently completed her DONA certification (DONA is an international body that certifies doulas), she had more experience with attending waterbirths than the first doula I interviewed. I also really liked her positive attitude and felt like she and I were on the same wavelength and that she'd be able to back up my birth plan and be a gentle advocate for me at the hospital. 

I'm glad my husband was able to meet her, too. He had been initially very skeptical of the idea of a doula but said if I found I doula I liked that he'd make sure to get along with her. Having him there to meet Marta was good, though, and Marta was able to explain some of the things she does to both assist me as well as empower Joe to assist me. 


Before I get too far, I want to talk about something that was happening in the middle of me trying to find a doula: I had started itching. BAD. I had whined about it in a Facebook status and got a lot of "just use cocoa butter" advice. I'm telling you, friends - this was an itch that went way beyond cocoa butter. 

When I had PUPPPS with my last baby, I started getting itchy and then developed spots that looked like mosquito bites. This was itchy like that - but worse. And no marks. I told my husband a few times that I was so itchy I wanted to die - especially since I was so itchy I wasn't getting more than a couple hours of broken sleep each night.

I have a couple friends who had a condition called ICP - or Intrahepatic Cholestatis of Pregnancy - with their pregnancies and they said they thought it might be that and to ask for a Liver Panel and Fractioned Bile Acid test from my doctor. My doctor agreed that the intense itching wasn't normal and ordered the tests.

The way you diagnose ICP is based on bile acid levels in your blood. Total bile acid of 10 or higher or a cholic acid level of 3.1 or higher mean you are positive for ICP. My total bile acid was 9 and my cholic acid was 3.0 - so not technically positive but really close - plus I was super itchy. 

Since I wasn't technically positive for ICP I wasn't put on the medicine normally given to ICP moms. On a recommendation of a mom in an ICP support group on Facebook, I started taking both dandelion root and milk thistle supplements to help with the itching. After just one day, I felt SO much better. I continued with the supplements and after about four weeks, the itching was mostly gone. My doctor had been continuing to monitor my bile acid levels which were not going up so we decided the supplements must have been keeping my body from developing full blown ICP so we didn't plan to schedule an early induction as is normally called for in ICP moms.

(Intense itching during pregnancy is NOT normal. If you are pregnant and experiencing intense itching, talk to your doctor specifically about ICP. ICP is not a common condition so many doctors may not be familiar with it. You can specifically request a fractioned bile acid test to check for it)

15 hours of labor and no baby!

On May 31st I woke up to contractions that were about seven or so minutes apart. I got up, took a shower, ate some food and the contractions kept coming. They were not terribly uncomfortable but they kept coming even though I was doing things that should have stopped Braxton Hicks contractions in their tracks. 

I asked my husband not to go to work that day and since we had plans to go to the farmer's market with my dad and stepmom already, we met them there and figured walking around would be good for me. Throughout the day, the contractions kept coming. After lunch, we decided to go walk laps at the park near our house while my dad and stepmom kept an eye on K at the playground. 

While I was walking laps, contractions started getting more intense, causing me to have to stop and concentrate in order to breathe through them. I'd been keeping in touch with Marta via text message and she said I didn't need to head to the hospital until they started getting so intense I could not talk through them.

Even though I wasn't quite at that point, because I'd had so many vivid dreams in early pregnancy that I didn't make it to the hospital on time I decided I wanted to at least head downtown - even if we just picked up walking around there instead of checking in at the hospital. 

Joe and I headed home, walked the dogs, grabbed a couple last minute things and headed downtown, leaving my son with his grandparents. On the way downtown, I realized I was pretty tired since I'd been up since about 3 am with the contractions and decided to try and get some sleep in the car. I dozed off and woke up as my husband was pulling in to the parking garage at the hospital. 

Joe asked me how I felt and after a few minutes I realized I wasn't having contractions anymore! After 15 hours of almost non-stop contractions, they'd quit. 

Since we'd never actually gotten a tour of the maternity ward (they'd always been too busy to see us), we called to see if now would be a good time for a tour and they said yes. We got a tour, walked around downtown and got dinner. Since the contractions still weren't doing anything at that point, we decided to go home.

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Friday, May 9, 2014

If you missed Part 1 of this story, go read it here.

When we left off , I was just shy of eight weeks pregnant. Aside from going back and forth being scared out of my mind that something was going to go wrong with my baby and comforted that God did a crazy miracle to have him be okay - and therefore he was probably going to see it through to the end- right? I think. I hope. Anyway, things were pretty normal until we got to about 32 weeks...

PUPPPS (say it like "pups")

No, not small dogs. PUPPPS is a condition that happens in .5% - .25% of pregnancies where you essentially become allergic to being pregnant. It started as a couple itchy spots on my wrists and upper arms and thighs. It eventually spread to my belly and hips. It is VERY itchy and VERY uncomfortable. You also look like you've been attacked by a swarm of mosquitoes - or at least I did. The only cure for PUPPPS is to have your baby. Bennadryl and steroid cream help a bit but you're generally rashy and itchy and just kind of uncomfortable until the baby arrives.  (read more about PUPPS here)


Thursday, May 8, 2014

We've been talking about story telling in one of my blogger networking groups. My blog, admittedly, is not heavy on stories. I write mostly tutorials and recipes and "how to" guides in narrative formats, but rarely do I tell stories. I do, however, have some great stories to tell and I think I'd like to do more of it.

On the eve of my son's fourth birthday I realized I never wrote up and shared a traditional "birth story" for him. This is kind of surprising as it's a pretty customary thing for green bloggers to do. I'd started to do it a few days after he was born but then never posted it and then days turned into weeks and weeks to months and I figured nobody would care any more.

As I'm planning to write all about New Baby's birth story when he arrives in a few weeks, I wanted to share Big Brother K's story before the new little one gets here.

Instead of starting with the "I went into labor part" I want to back up a bit and talk about my pregnancy - because his pregnancy is a big part of why K's story is so amazing. So let's get started shall we?

First I should tell you:

Pregnancy is NOT my favorite

Some women LOVE being pregnant. I am not one of those women. Pregnancy has always been a scary, stressful time for me. We lost our first three pregnancies before seven weeks. Our fourth pregnancy made it to nine weeks but the baby, while growing, wasn't growing as fast as it should have been and was about the size of a seven week baby at 9 weeks - two days before I miscarried. 

As a result of all these losses, I have been poked and prodded to no end. Following the loss of our third baby, I underwent a huge battery of tests to try and figure out why an otherwise healthy 23 year old was losing babies. I remember sitting down with the phlebotomist to have my blood drawn and she started pulling out test tube after test tube to fill with my blood. She was being shadowed by an intern and his eyes got SO BIG as he saw how many tubes they were planning to fill to run all of the tests ordered. He turned to the phlebotomist and said is this the most blood you've had to drawn from one person before? Her response was no - but it was close.

And the tests couldn't find anything wrong. 

Then we moved across the country to Portland and switched doctors. My new reproductive endocrinologist (RE) works at one of the most highly regarding fertility clinics on the west coast. After the loss of baby #4, we did more testing. Our RE said he could not find anything wrong with me or my husband and thought that for some reason our genes just didn't combine well. He thought our best chance for successfully having a baby was to undergo IVF using our own ingredients and then have the embryos tested for genetic viability at a couple days old to then only transfer the healthy embryos.

This, unfortunately, was prohibitively expensive so we resigned ourselves to not having our own biological kids and started thinking about adoption.

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Carissa's Creativity Space ( became Creative Green Living in February 2013. As such the watermarks on older posts may reflect the previous site name.