Are Seasonal Blues Getting You Down?

The Mom in Me, MD has been busy this fall! Yes, I have a new column with the Hamilton County Family Magazine, To Your Health, in print and online. With the holidays approaching and our daylight hours getting shorter, it seemed appropriate to address the seasonal slump that many of us feel this time of year. Click here http://bit.ly/1sROdyl for the full article and don’t forget to leave your thoughts, personal experiences, and suggestions!Young sad woman alone in a black stone beach.

 

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Bright Pink in Action-Know Your Risk!

No woman expects to be diagnosed with cancer at the age of 20. But, when Melissa’s pelvic pain refused to go away, she couldn’t write it off as a painful period or intense ovulation any longer. She knew her body, and something wasn’t right. The vague discomfort in her pelvis, the odd pain at the end of urination…all strange symptoms that just didn’t make sense.Beautiful young woman in bed, with hot water bag on her tummy

Blood work (CA125), ultrasounds, and finally a biopsy confirmed what Melissa had feared; She had ovarian cancer. Yes, the tumor was considered one of the most favorable types of ovarian cancer, but just the word “cancer” left her stunned. Moments before she had been a typical college student. Now, she was scheduling surgery to have her right ovary and half of her left ovary removed. The oncologist’s description of worst-case scenarios swirled in her head. Chemotherapy? Part of the tumor was attached to her colon. Without chemotherapy the cancer could potentially spread to her gut. What option did she really have?Woman Suffering From Stomachache On Sofa

Battling cancer once is enough for anyone, but one year after her daughter was born Melissa was diagnosed with a recurrence of ovarian cancer. Although the remainder of her left ovary was removed, making her cancer free, Melissa’s mother and aunt were diagnosed with breast cancer. Was this just a coincidence or was something else going on? With such a strong family history, she decided that it was time to meet with a genetic counselor. Melissa felt obligated, not just for her own sake but for that of her sister and her daughter to know if a genetic mutation such as a BRCA 1 or 2 (which can increase the risk for breast and ovarian cancer) ran in her family. If she tested positive she could potentially prevent breast cancer in her own future with a bilateral mastectomy; and, with increased screening and preventative steps her sister and daughter could potentially be spared the cancer diagnosis that she had received at the age of 20. Whatever she needed to do to stay healthy, to continue being a mom, and to protect her family…that was what she would do.Mother breastfeeding the little baby

Becoming a mom in the first place had been hard enough. Even though she was no longer a cancer patient, cancer had forced her into the role of infertility patient. With only ½ of one ovary, low estradiol levels, and high FSH and LH levels, Melissa was told that she could not get pregnant on her own. Donor eggs and In Vitro Fertilization were her only options for getting pregnant. Her sister had volunteered to donate eggs without hesitation, and the embryo transfer was a success! As a mom, Melissa felt an even stronger urge to get genetic testing. She wanted to make knowledgeable decisions. She wanted all of the information. She wanted peace of mind. The benefits of knowing her body even down to the smallest genetic mutation could guide her decision-making, her sister’s and her daughter’s.Concept Of Aging And Skin Care

Knowing is power. Knowing is prevention. Knowing is possibly life saving. Do you know your risks? If you are a woman with a personal or strong family history of breast or ovarian cancer it may be time to KNOW more about your genetic risks for cancer. By getting tested for gene mutations such as BRCA, you can take your health into your own hands. Be your best advocate, and let Bright Pink’s amazing resources guide you in your journey toward health. Take this Assess Your Risk quiz by clicking on this hyperlink to see if you would be a good candidate for genetic screening. This tool is a great resource for all women. Not only does it assess your genetic risks, it also looks at how your lifestyle choices may be impacting your breast and ovarian health. Could some simple lifestyle changes prevent you from developing breast or ovarian cancer? Take the Bright Pink Assessment to learn more.Woman Showing Pink Ribbon To Support Breast Cancer Cause

Melissa took the necessary steps to know her risks, including her genetic risks. She now has peace of mind knowing that her genetic testing came back normal. Do you have peace of mind? Even if you were to test positive for a genetic mutation, you too could find peace of mind knowing that preventative options for breast and ovarian cancer do exist for you and others in your family. Ignorance is never bliss, but a cancer free future can be!

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Our Infertility Journey (1.12): Do men always get the easy infertility jobs???#GivingTuesday

My nerves were intense, evidenced by the slight tremor in my hands. Annoyed that I was letting myself show any signs of vulnerability, I shoved them under my thighs. I was tough. A needle into my ovaries couldn’t be that bad, right? So what if I would be awake! The Ativan and pain meds would take the edge off. They had assured me that anesthesia wasn’t necessary (nor was it an option).

How long would they make us wait? The clock hands seemed to be stuck in the same position that they had been in when we entered the waiting room. I wasn’t as nervous about the procedure as I was about the outcome. The unknown mocked me. I despised my inability to control ANYTHING. I couldn’t will my body to create more eggs, to respond more favorably to the stimulation medications, or to stop hyperstimulating. All that I could do was wait and hope for amazing news.Young woman stroking her belly becouse of bellyache

At least Dave was at my side today. Over the past several months his presence at my appointments had been hit or miss-most of the time miss. As a doctor in training he didn’t have the luxury of frequent time off. I understood, but I still hated it. I had to accept that we were not making a baby TOGETHER. I was making a baby with needles, doctors, nurses, labs, and countless medications. This was one more frustrating reality, added to my list of things that I was powerless to change.

His presence today was absolutely necessary. An egg without sperm is just an egg! The door opened and Dave’s name was called. It was time for his contribution. Back to the male suite he went to squirt into a cup once more. If only my role were that easy. I felt a twinge of jealously and anger but quickly willed myself to dismiss it. What good would a pity party do? No, I had to stay focused. I needed to be positive. But, in the midst of my positive thinking I still couldn’t dismiss the recurring thought that it wasn’t fair! Maybe he wasn’t propping his feet up all day long, but he certainly wasn’t feeling the full effect of infertility. relaxing

I was starting to feel groggy by the time that Dave returned to the waiting room…with an extra spring in his step. The Ativan was kicking in. The door opened again. It was my turn. Once in the procedure room the nurse told me to change into a gown and to remove everything except for my socks. Dave was given a blue paper jump suit and booties to put over his clothes. As I was stripping he was zipping up. The room was frigid. Icy. Sterile. I shivered as I covered my head with the blue surgical cap. My legs were shaking.Woman Having Eggs Removed As Part Of IVF Treatment

The nurse arrived to start my IV line. My first poke of the day felt like a tickle in comparison to what was to come. As I slipped my feet into the stirrups, I took a deep breath and braced myself for pain. My bladder was overly full and I couldn’t help thinking how horrible it would be to urinate all over the floor. The ultrasound smashing against my abdomen didn’t help the situation. I was about to celebrate as the abdominal ultrasound was removed, but before I could utter my thanks, the vaginal ultrasound probe appeared. This probe was unlike the others…equipped with a special needle that would poke through my vaginal wall, reach over to my ovaries, puncture each individual follicle, and then apply vacuum suction to remove the eggs. Great…a torturous version of the traditional vaginal ultrasound probe! I hadn’t thought it possible to dislike an ultrasound probe any more than I already did; my opinion quickly changed.

Each time suction was applied the tube was given to the embryology lab technician who then confirmed if an egg was present or not. If present, a number was called out, adding to the tally. I felt like a contestant on The Price is Right. I kept guessing how many eggs we would get. I held my breath with each needle poke. My heart sank each time our count stayed the same. Would we have enough? Would they fertilize? I squeezed Dave’s hand and asked for more pain medication. The procedure was painful…if I hadn’t mentioned that. I felt every needle poke. The pain meds took the edge off, but puncturing the follicles located along the wall of the ovary definitely hurt the most. I held my breath, clenched my jaw, and prayed for it to be over quickly.Nurse Aiding Egg Retrieval Proceedure In Theatre

The narcotics running through my IV made my head and my body feel sluggish and heavy. I forced myself to listen for the final count…9 or 10. Not huge, but still good! We were done. I tried to wiggle over to the recovery gurney, but my body was too heavy, weighted down by the narcotics and Ativan. I couldn’t talk. Opening my mouth took too much effort. I felt myself being lifted and then wheeled down a hallway toward recovery.

Eight hours later I awoke, sore and nauseated. The narcotics had knocked me out, changing what should have been a 1-2 hour recovery time into a day long stay. As I slowly opened my eyes, I found that I was alone. I looked for a balloon, flowers, a card. Nothing! It may sound silly, but I had specifically told Dave that I wanted a giant balloon at my bedside. I’m not sure why it was so important to me, but it was. Other than his presence and some sperm, it was the only thing that I had asked of him for the retrieval. He had forgotten.Crying woman

Actually, he had gone back to work after I made it to the recovery area. Yes, I had been asleep, but I still wanted his presence at my side. Instead, I was surrounded by an overwhelming sense of aloneness. It was only a few minutes before Dave walked through the door. The first thing out of my mouth was, “Where is my balloon?!?!” I was livid. After everything that I had been through, I wanted some extra compassion and gratitude, something to say, “Thank you for everything that you are doing to get us pregnant.”

Dave really is a considerate and amazing husband, but even he will say that he fell short on this occasion. He left my bedside once again, but this time he returned with a giant monkey balloon, a children’s book, and a matching stuffed animal. The name of the book was, “I Love Monkey”. It was the silliest looking monkey I had ever seen with a flat face, the tiniest feet, and little striped socks. When he said that he had bought it for our baby to be, I couldn’t help but smile and forgive him. While his infertility role was not as physically or even emotionally challenging as mine, living with a wife pumped up with hormone injections was probably not the easiest job either. He too was learning as he went.Sad woman is talking to the phone in bad, in home.

I was back to work the next day; feeling very sore but hopeful. We were in the process of making beautiful embryos! We waited expectantly for the phone to ring. How many embryos would we have? What would their quality be? We waited and we waited. Finally, the call came.

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a time when it’s okay to raise your voice…Domestic Violence Awareness

I never thought that I would see or talk to my best friend from childhood again. I assumed that she had simply cut me off. I had blamed her husband at first, but as time passed I simply blamed her. I had prayed for her at first, reached out to her…but, with thousands of miles between us I moved on in life. 13 years and one email later, I was devastated to hear the truth, the story behind her practical disappearance from my life.

She had done nothing wrong. She was smart. She was pretty. She was in love. She had done nothing to deserve it, and yet, she became a victim of intimate partner violence. My best friend who had been so full of life had become a shadow…locked in her home, trapped in another country thousands of miles from her own, despised and ridiculed by her husband. Her keys were taken. Her phone and computer were censored. Her trips to the store were timed. Her children were told never to listen to her. They were taught to disrespect her. She wasn’t allowed to maintain any of her previous friendships. Her life had become a nightmare.Abused woman crying

13 years and 3 children later…she was finally able to find her voice, to muster the courage to fight. Who would listen to her? She was an outsider. Her husband was well-respected, prominent in the community. He obviously loved his wife. They were a happy family…

In spite of the odds, she fought to overcome when many would have given up. Living in a foreign country, shuffling between women’s shelters with three children, and attempting to navigate a legal system with different rules and regulations were just a few of the hurdles she faced. SHE could leave at any time. SHE could return to the United States, but her CHILDREN could not…not without her husband’s approval, an approval that he would never give.Woman Covering Her Face In Fear Of Domestic Violence

I do believe in miracles, and I believe in answered prayers (My friend’s return to the United States with all three of her children is one example of deliverance from an impossible situation). But, I also believe that each of us should do our part to protect and help those we love who are victims of domestic violence/intimate partner violence. Domestic violence touches everyone. Even if you have never been hit, criticized continually, sexually assaulted, or been made to feel less than the amazing human that you are…someone you know NOW or may meet in the FUTURE has experienced one or all of these horrific things. Domestic violence knows no bounds. It touches women, children, the elderly, and even men. An excellent education, living in a fancy house, having the perfect job, being married to a civil servant…none of these things ensures a life free from domestic violence.healthcare and social problem concept - womans hands holding pur

Everyone has the right to live a life free from abuse. And, since October is National Domestic Violence Awareness month…it’s time to raise your voice! Here are a few ways to get started.

1. Don’t be afraid to ask your friends or those that you encounter if they feel safe at home or in their current relationship? Asking goes a long way! 

You will never be able to help someone if you don’t first ask them the hard questions. While some women may open up about an abusive relationship, many women are too afraid or embarrassed to bring it up. “Are you safe at home? Is anyone harming you or causing you to feel scared? Can you make your own decisions? Has anyone ever hit you or forced you to do something that you didn’t want to do?” These are just a few examples of the hard questions. If you are concerned that their answer is not truthful, don’t push them to “tell the truth”. Let them know that you are always there to listen and help. You are not there to judge them, and you will keep any and all conversations confidential. You are also not there to control them. Let them know that you would like to help if and when they are ready. (If you are talking with a child this cannot be the case. You must report any cases of suspected child abuse immediately to your local Child and Youth Services and if active abuse is occurring you should call 911 immediately. The information in this article is intended to address abuse in adults not children!)stop violence

2. Learn about available resources so that you are prepared to help someone in need.

Many resources exist to help those who are victims of intimate partner violence. Educate yourself so that you are ready to help.

The NATIONAL DOMESTIC VIOLENCE HOTLINE is a great place to start. It is more than just a number. Their website has great resources for current and past victims, those willing to help, and health care providers. Click on the link above or go to www.thehotline.org for more information. Memorizing this telephone number could be life saving and life changing 1-800-799-SAFE (7233)

3. Encourage but don’t force anyone (an adult) to leave. 

While it may seem straight forward that someone should simply leave a bad situation, this is often very complicated and at times incredibly dangerous for Domestic Violence victims. Many women who would like to leave an abusive situation are afraid of what will happen to their children. Others are afraid that their financial resources will be cut off completely. And, many are afraid for their lives. The list of concerns goes on and on. Instead of forcing someone to leave a harmful relationship immediately, encourage them that when they are ready or feel that it is safe to leave, you will be there to help them. Your friend doesn’t need to be told what to do. She needs to be able to make her own decisions.Lacrouts_Isabelle_230311,Paniandy_Eric_230311,Armand_Lea_230311

4. Help your friend create a getaway plan. 

In addition to helping your friend come up with a getaway plan, rehearse it with her frequently. Encourage your friend, even if she is not yet ready to leave, to start preparing by storing an extra set of keys, a non-traceable phone, important legal documents such as social security cards and passports, money etc. in a safe place where her abuser cannot find it. Offer to help her with any steps of her plan that she may need such as transportation.

5. Get active in your community. 

Here are a few ideas:

*Be willing to volunteer at a local women’s shelter.

*Become a volunteer advocate for the National Domestic Violence Hotline, answering these critical calls

*Donate-there are numerous ways to raise money to End and Prevent Domestic Violence. Even shopping on Amazon through Amazon Smile can make a difference. Your business can even partner to raise funds.You Have A Voice

While we can’t make all of the decisions for those we love or change all of their circumstances for them, we can raise our voices against domestic violence. By unreservedly shouting that abuse is NEVER okay, we can use our voices to fight back. By offering a hand of love and support to victims, we can give them a glimmer of hope for a better future. Find YOUR voice. Find YOUR courage. Change someone’s life!Conceptual closeup environment photo of hands holding a young pl

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Hot Apple Chai…Look out Apple Cider! There’s a Delicious New Drink in Town!

Before you get too cozy with your hot apple cider, cinnamon spiced cider, or pumpkin spice latte…take one sip of this! I promise you won’t be disappointed. HOT APPLE CHAI!!!! For those of you who don’t frequent coffee shops, you can make this in the comfort of your home.Happy Smiling Young Woman Eating Organic Apple in the Orchard.Ba

If you are a Starbucks addict…here’s how to order!

Starbucks had a similar drink a while ago called the Apple Chai Infusion. The only problem was that they infused a little too much chai (in my opinion). It isn’t on the menu any longer and my ratios are much tastier. Here is how to order. “Hello, my friendly barista! I would love a Tall steamed apple juice with 2 pumps of chai, extra hot.” If you are looking for something a little bigger…”I would love a Grande steamed apple juice with three pumps of chai extra hot.” Skip the whip!!! Not worth the calories.SCARSDALE, NY - SEPTEMBER 15, 2013: A tall Starbucks coffee in f

If you plan on making this at home, this is what you will need to make one serving:

12 ounces of apple juice per serving-heat on the stove top

Chai syrup-2 pumps per 12 ounces of apple juice. You can find this on Amazon at this link Torani® Chai Tea Spice Syrup

Simply heat your apple juice to desired warmth and then add in the chai. Stir. Pour into your favorite mug. Sip. Do a happy dance, and then get cozy by the fireplace.

Try it out and leave me a comment with your thoughts!Coffee Cup On Twilight Background

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Keep Your Kids Safe: 4 Things About Bullying that Every Parent Needs to Know

Cornered against the brick wall, I didn’t expect what was coming. His fist hovered above me and then came in for the punch. I felt the wind rush from my lungs as I doubled over in pain. He was almost twice my age and down right mean. I hadn’t meant to hit his brother with the plastic golf club. We were all just playing in the yard, having fun. His brother wasn’t even hurt, but it didn’t matter. He wanted a victim. He wanted a punching bag. He didn’t care that he was twice the size of my tiny seven-year old frame. He had been waiting for the opportunity to bully, and unknowingly I had given him the perfect chance.

Almost 25 years later, I still remember this incident vividly. My sister ran to my rescue but didn’t get there in time to prevent the stomach punch. Physical assault was a foreign concept to me. I was usually well liked in school and had a lot of friends. I wasn’t sure how to react to this scary and intimidating incident. As my older sister walked me home I begged her not to tell our mother. For some reason, I was embarrassed. I also didn’t want to make things worse. I didn’t want the boy to get in trouble because I was worried that he would hunt me down and do more than just knock the wind out of me. She firmly told me that we had to tell mom to make sure that it didn’t happen again.Strong child with muscles drawn on chalkboard in elementary scho

Unfortunately, bullying continues to be a prevalent issue in our children’s schools and in our own neighborhoods. It is such a significant problem, that over 160,000 US students stay home each school day due to a fear of being bullied according to The American Academy of Pediatrics. As our kids get ready to step back on the school buses this fall, it’s important that we take the time to educate ourselves and our children on bullying, how to prevent it, and how to deal with it when it happens. Since October is National Bullying Prevention Month, I felt that a some timely tips were in order. Signs and symptoms of bullying may not always be obvious. Some things to look for include poor attention while at school, refusal to go to school, frequent physical complaints such as stomach-aches and headaches, a decline in grades, and poor self-esteem.

Here are four helpful suggestions from the National Stop Bullying campaign on ways to address bullying this school year:

  1. Help your Kids Understand Bullying

Helping your kids understand what bullying is and that it is never okay is a great starting place. Teach your kids ways to stand up for themselves, and encourage them to stand up for others.

Ways a child can stand up for himself:

  1. Look at the bully and clearly but calmly tell him to STOP
  2. Laugh it off and make it into a joke-this may catch the bully off guard
  3. If you don’t feel safe with these options, walk away and find an adult and tell them the situation
  4. Don’t fight. Instead, walk away and find an adult.

No friends

  1. Open up Communication with your Kids

Take the time to talk with your kids about their day at school. Spending just 15 minutes in direct, uninterrupted conversation with your child each day will help them know that you are someone to trust with a problem. Asking about bullying directly can be very effective. Specifically ask them if they are having any problems with other children. Take the time to listen to what they are saying. If they say that they don’t like another child, this may be a red flag that the child is actually bullying them. Getting to know their friends may also be a helpful way to hear about their school experiences.

A few ways to start a conversation with your child:

  1. Tell me one good thing that happened at school today. Did anything bad happen?
  2. What is it like to ride on the school bus? Do you have anyone that you usually sit with?
  3. Tell me about lunchtime and recess? Who do you play with or eat with? What do you like to talk about during lunch?
  4. Do you think anyone at your school is a bully? Does he/she bully any of your friends?

Mother sitting with her children on sofa at home in living room

  1. Encourage Your Kids to Do the Things that They Enjoy

By encouraging your kids to do the things that they love, they will build confidence and develop friendships with children with similar interests. Both confidence and friendships are protective against bullying.

 

  1. Model Kind and Respectful Behavior for your Children

Parents can help prevent bullying by modeling kind and appropriate behaviors. Children look to their parents and will model the behavior that they see. By calmly dealing with conflict in a non-hostile and non-physical manner, parents can be anti-bullying role models.

Bullying is a complex issue, but taking steps to identify it, to educate our kids on ways to address it, and to partner with programs to prevent it, can ensure that our kids are able to focus on the important things this school year…being kids, having fun, and getting a great education. For more insight on bullying, check out these webpages.

http://www.stopbullying.gov

http://www.cdc.gov/ViolencePrevention/youthviolence/bullyingresearch/

http://www2.aap.org/connectedkids/samples/bullying.htm

http://www.aap.org/en-us/advocacy-and-policy/state-advocacy/Documents/Bullying%20Prevention.pdf#search=bullying

 

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Avry Couture Creations’ Vintage Princess Crown Giveaway…Hosted by The Mom in Me, MD

Every little girl dreams of becoming a princess one day. A glass slipper, an enchanted kiss, a knight in shining armor…all essential, but the crowning glory is well…the crown. And, since the fairy tales of childhood last for such a short time, we must indulge our little girl’s fantasies now, before the clock strikes midnight.Ballet, ballerina - young and beautiful ballet dancer

I have loved the vintage inspired headbands from Avry Couture Creations for some time now. I even included this online shop in a recent blog post review, Babylicous Hair Bows. As I was looking for a birthday crown to match my daughter’s fancy dress for pictures, I happened to notice that Avry Couture Creations also makes several different styles of crowns! I was sold at first sight. DSC08150 DSC08151DSC08152

While the Glitter Birthday Crown was perfect for smash cake photos (and daily wear of course), the Vintage Cake Crown was just as cute and could easily be thrown in a suitcase without being damaged. It could even be folded! Perfect! My daughter’s crown needed to make it to Paris and back in an overstuffed suitcase. I didn’t want to take something that could get smooshed during the journey. Nothing is worse than a crumpled crown! I also wanted to make sure that it fit my daughter’s head. Solution…a crown that ties in the back with a ribbon. Yep, an adjustable crown. Perfect for your growing princess.DSC08178

Devon from Avry Couture Creations was kind enough to overnight me a gorgeous crown to use for our Paris pictures, free of charge. Don’t worry, she didn’t have to twist my arm to get me to say nice things about it. Like I said before, “Love at First Sight!” And, because I know that you all have little princesses in the making, I thought it might be nice for one of you to give it a royal home.DSC08179 DSC08180 DSC08181

Yes…the GIVEAWAY starts now! Make sure to enter here before your carriage becomes a pumpkin…the clock is ticking! You must leave a comment on this blog post AND you must share this blog on either Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest to qualify. Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. FOR MORE GREAT GIVEAWAYS CLICK ON THE GIVEAWAY TAB ON THE HOME PAGE.

Congrats Sharla!!!!!! You have won!!!!

For more amazing headpieces and accessories from Avry Couture Creations, click on the hyperlinks above. Devon will even customize to match your colors!

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8 Things Every Abused Woman Wishes Her Friends Knew

Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) affects 12 million people in the United States each year. This includes physical, sexual, and psychological abuse by a current or past partner. It can be limited to one episode or it can be ongoing for years. One in three women have been victims of IPV, resulting in long and short-term physical and psychological trauma for many. With numbers like these, each one of us probably knows at least one person affected by domestic violence. It may even be you.Woman Covering Her Face In Fear Of Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence, Intimate Partner Violence, Abuse….No one deserves to be mistreated! Every woman affected by violence needs a friend. Be the friend that you would want if the roles were reversed.Woman Being Kidnapped And Abused

8 Things Every Abused Woman Needs Her Friends to Know:

1. Just LISTEN to me please!

2. Reassure me. Tell me things like, “You don’t deserve this;” “This is not your fault;” and “I believe you.”

3. Tell me that you think I might be in DANGER (I need to hear this from someone else).

4. Please make sure that I have the domestic violence hotline number MEMORIZED. It may not be safe for me to have this number written down or in my phone. 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) is the National Domestic Violence Hotline.

5. Call me OFTEN and ASK how you can help me. Please check with me before you send an email asking about my situation. My emails may be censored by my partner. If you call me please ask if it is an okay time to talk. My partner may be listening in on the conversation.

6. Please don’t tell me what to do. I don’t need someone else controlling all of my decisions. I already have that at home from my abuser. I need to be the one who decides when it is best to leave.

7. Help me come up with a get away plan. Help me think through where I would go and what I would need.

8. Please keep helping me even if I try to leave on countless occasions and then end up changing my mind. Leaving isn’t easy. Leaving often isn’t safe. Leaving scares me.healthcare and social problem concept - womans hands holding pur

Victims of Domestic Violence need your love and support. Learn more about how you can help and what resources are available by clicking on the hyperlinks throughout this article. Raise your voice to raise awareness! October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month after all.

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For similar articles and more information on women and children’s health, check out our home page and give The Mom in Me, MD a like on Facebook! Another article just published this week on Domestic Violence that you may want to check out and share is linked right here! “A Time When it’s Okay to Raise Your Voice…Domestic Violence Awareness”

 

 

Our Infertility Journey (1.11): The Neighborly Infertility Waiting Room

As soon as my ovaries shrank back to their normal size (after a failed IVF cycle, sabotaged by ovarian hyperstimulation); my hormone levels normalized; and I had my period, I was immediately ready to start another cycle of IVF. I was going to make this work. I was not going to be discouraged. I was going to get pregnant.Pregnant Woman holding her hands in a heart shape on her baby bu

I was fertile…incredibly fertile…confirmed by a tiny drop of medication overstimulating my ovaries.  I didn’t need a break. I needed a baby. And, so, we started over again. This time I was required to have more frequent ultrasounds and more frequent blood draws (oh, so convenient for my work schedule). The medication doses were titrated to push the ovaries to make follicles but not to hyperstimulate. We were on the right track. But…

Once, again, I hyperstimulated. It was not as intense this time. I was able to continue the cycle, but unfortunately because we were using such small doses of medication I ended up with a lot of very small follicles that didn’t have eggs at the right stage of maturity. I only had a few follicles that looked promising. Would these few follicles be enough? I held onto hope.

During this cycle, a somewhat random and awkward series of events transpired. As I made my way into the clinic one morning, I noticed a familiar face. Not just a vaguely familiar face, but the face of my next door neighbor. She sat alone, looking down at either her phone or a book, or anything just to avoid eye contact. I knew that she had seen me. How could she not, with only a glass wall to separate us on entry, and one other person sitting in the waiting room?Three patients sitting in doctor's waiting room

For several months now I had observed that everyone always looked up when someone entered the waiting room. Maybe they look out of curiosity. Maybe it was an instinctive reaction to the sound of the door opening. Maybe they thought the nurse was about to call their name, or maybe it was a glance longing for connection-the connection of seeing someone else struggling with the same grief that infertility brings. In this silent community of women, all were pained by similar emotions yet distanced from one another by shame or a desire for privacy. But, behind each heart filled with pain was also a yearning for understanding and support.

As I sat down, I tried to make eye contact. Instead of feeling like my privacy was being invaded, I was excited to find comradery. I wanted to know my neighbor’s story. I wanted to tell her mine. I eased myself into the seat, sore from my distended pelvis. I wondered if she was in the middle of a cycle. As my mind was racing through possible scenarios, she briefly glanced my direction. I tried to catch her eye and smile. This time she did see me, but instead of saying hello and exchanging pleasantries, she simply gave me a hasty, half-hearted smile and quickly looked back down. Each morning after was the same.Outdoor profile portrait of a beautiful thoughtful Chinese Asian

I didn’t judge her. How could I? Just months before I had been shrinking behind the vending machine hoping that no one that I knew would see me. How could I expect her to behave differently. She hadn’t invited me into this private part of her life. She didn’t want me to know her struggle. She deserved the right to her privacy, to her reaction, to her annoyance at my presence. I understood. She was dealing with her infertility struggle in the way that worked for her. Who was I to pressure her to talk or to share?

Over the next several months we saw each other frequently. Our exchanges were limited to a quick glance and a brief smile. By now our husbands were accompanying us to our appointments whenever they could. My neighbor’s husband would smile and greet me comfortably, as though we were both in our front yards watering flowers. Our husbands worked out in the same gym and would run into each other on occasion. Somehow they were easily and openly able to talk about our simultaneous infertility journeys and failed IVF cycles.

Young woman doctor in cap and face mask in surgery room interiorAs coincidence would have it, we both ended up having our egg retrivals on the same Saturday morning. So, just the four of us sitting in the fish bowl waiting room at 6 am, eager, worried, and more than a little tired. Would we both come out of this round pregnant? Would only one of us have success? How many eggs would each of us get today? How many embryos? So many questions…so many what if’s. I wasn’t sure what to say. Besides, my mind was more than a little hazy from the sedating medication I had taken before arriving to the hospital. This clinic expected you to be tough. A benzo by mouth and some IV narcotics were all they gave for egg retrievals. Looking back, I’m a little jealous of my friends who had full anesthesia at other clinics! I’m pretty sure I’d be okay with never knowing what an egg retrieval feels like!

From The Mom in Me, MD

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Tiny TOMS shoe Giveaway from The Mom in Me, MD

photoTiny shoes are just so cute! Little feet are even cuter. I’ve always been a fan of TOMS shoes for myself, but when I saw their baby and toddler line I was in love. From graphic prints and trendy colors to glitter…Tiny TOMS are as stylish as they come. Not only are they stylish…each pair sold helps another child in need. That’s right, TOMS’ social entrepreneurship model has been promoting the “One for One” concept for the past several years. For every pair of shoes that TOMS sells, they give a pair away to a child in need. More recently they have even branched out into sunglasses and fair trade coffee. So in addition to having your shoes make a difference…so can your morning cup of Jo and your shades. The sunglass line provides glasses and vision restoring surgeries in developing countries, and the fair trade coffee line provides clean water.Little African Girl At Wooden Fence With Thumbs Up.

Yes, TOMS is a business that wants to make a profit…but isn’t that the point of business? The difference with TOMS is that giving is part of their core. A business with true core values intended to help the less fortunate both in the US and in developing countries is incredibly refreshing. Because of TOMS, many other companies built on the fair trade and giving back model are emerging. Noonday Jewelry Collection is another example of how our dollar can significantly impact those struggling to emerge from poverty.Friends without shoes together, summer, group of children

So why not introduce your little one to the concept of giving back right now! I’m about to make it incredibly easy for you! That’s right…The Mom in Me, MD is giving away a pair of TINY TOMS Size 5! Sorry, boys, these are for the girls. Make sure to leave a comment below and share this blog post on Facebook or Twitter to qualify to win. But, FIRST, you need to click on this link to register to win. a Rafflecopter giveaway  Check out the giveaway picture below, taken from the TOMS shoes webpage. Oh, and don’t forget to click on the hyperlinks above for more helpful insights and shopping opportunities!

THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED! PLEASE CLICK ON THE GIVEAWAY TAB ON THE HOME PAGE FOR MORE GIVEAWAY OPPORTUNITIES! CONGRATS MAGGIE!

From The Mom in Me, MD

GIVEAWAY SHOES!!!!

GIVEAWAY SHOES!!!!