Our Journey to Pregnancy- Infertility Awareness Week

We try all our youthful lives to NOT get pregnant, and then when we try to get pregnant…it doesn’t quite happen. Why is that?
It’s National Infertility Awareness week and I have had a really strong pull to share our journey through infertility. It’s one of those things that when we were going through it I was quite shameful and embarrassed…but I feel like lately it has become a more talked about topic.
Does anyone else agree with me when I say that I feel like infertility has become more prevalent in our generation compared to our parents and grandparents? Not sure why this is, maybe the fact that people are more open with sharing their lives; or just a scientific freak accident?

I’ll be honest, this is quite challenging to write. But I remember when I was in the mix of everything reading SO MANY BLOGS, and doing so much research trying to navigate through everything.
If this blog can help just one person navigate through this process, then I’ll feel good!

  • When I was younger, like middleschoool/high school age I had VERY REGULAR periods and almost no “period symptoms.” Yes, I would consider myself very lucky! In my senior year of high school I struggled with an eating disorder and started having irregular periods. So between the irregular periods and the fact that I was heading off to college it was decided that I should be started on birth control.
  • Fast forward 4 years, now I’m a senior in college and relapsed into my eating disorder tendencies again.
  • August 26, 2017 Kwin and I got married and I took my last birth control pill ever! We had talked about the idea of letting my body rid the chemicals of birth control for a couple months before starting to try for a baby. Well lone behold, after 8 years of birth control and TWO different times of anorexia…. my period didn’t come back. I waited six months of no period before I decided to go see my GYNO to try and figure out what was going on.
  • February 2018 I had an ultrasound to check out my ovaries/uterus and some reproductive lab work done.
    • The ultrasound came back insignificant and my lab work showed low FSH&low LH (female hormones,) normal TSH, normal testosterone, normal cortisol, and all other labs normal as well. Great news right? NO..not when you’re trying to find the reasoning behind your issues!
    • I was diagnosed with PCOS and told to start on Metformin. Um no thanks… I didn’t meet the criteria below to be diagnosed with PCOS and felt like this was just looking to put a bandaid on my issues.
    • PCOS Diagnostic Criteria (to be diagnosed with PCOS you have to meet TWO of the three criteria listed)
      • Have irregular periods– this indicates that your ovaries do not regularly release eggs (ovulate,) blood tests showing you have high levels of “male hormones”, such as testosterone (or sometimes just the signs of excess male hormones, even if the blood test is normal,) scans showing you have polycystic ovaries.
      • Blood tests showing you have high levels of “male hormones”, such as testosterone (or sometimes just the signs of excess male hormones, even if the blood test is normal)
      • Scans showing you have polycystic ovaries
  • June 2018 I made an appointment with the most amazing naturopathic doctor! We worked on hormone balance and acupuncture.
    • I was getting acupuncture once a month. My Dr’s focus for these sessions was promoting blood flow to the reproductive region. She would also make modifications each session based off life situations and what my pulse was reading.
    • We monitored my hormone levels every 3-6 months. Some things that we did to work on balancing my hormones were seed cycling and looking at my cycle being in alignment with the moon cycle. I will link some resources for seed cycling HERE.
  • November 2018 still no periods, but my hormones were getting closer to normal. Kwin and I were both getting impatient with the process so I decided to make a consultation appointment with the ‘Fertility Center‘ to see exactly what they offered and become an established patient for when we truly were ready. I was really impressed with these doctors!
  • April 2019 still no periods. So Kwin and I both met with the Fertility specialists and did more tests to rule out any other issues!
    • Kwin got a sperm analysis done
    • I did a procedure called HSG (Hysterosalpingogram) A simple (yet quite painful procedure) where they insert an iodine-based dye through the cervix and take x-rays. These x-rays help evaluate the shape of the uterus and whether the Fallopian tubes were blocked.
    • Again everything came back “normal” so I was given the diagnosis of ‘Secondary Amenorrhea.’ With this diagnosis the fertility specialists felt that I would probably need to do IUI or IVF (eventually, not something you can start with right off the bat) to get pregnant. That was a hard pill to swallow. They also gave us the option to do “timed intercourse” which essentially means that I would still take all the fertility promoting medications, but instead of having them inject Kwin’s sperm into me (IUI procedure) we would have intercourse around time of ovulation. We opted this option to start with!
  • June 2019 1st round of Menopur injections– How menopur injections work… I would have to give myself shots every night based off the dose that the doctors prescribed me. Every couple of days I would get ultrasounds done to check how my body was responding to the medications- specifically looking at my ovaries and the eggs developing. Once my eggs reached “optimal size” the doctors instructed me to take Ovidrel (the trigger shot to tell my body to ovulate!) After the shot was done we were instructed to have intercourse for the next three days!
    • We learned a lot over the first month of this process. The #1 being that I needed to RELAX and not try and “force” anything. When it came to “doing the deeds” Kwin felt super pressured and like it wasn’t natural.
    • This cycle was not successful.
    • We took the month of July off due to our big road trip out west!
  • August 2019 2nd round of Menopur injections
    • Cycle #2 I was defiantly trying to me more relaxed about everything. Same process as above!
    • This cycle was not successful
    • We had to take the month of September OFF due to cysts being present on my ovaries from the previous cycle.
      • I’ll be honest this was very upsetting to me… I felt like my body was failing me even more than ever.
    • I took the month of September as a “Megan’s ultimate selfcare month” where I dialed in on my nutrition, took more rest days, and just really listened to my body!
  • October 2019 3rd round of menopur injections
    • The doctors wanted to change up the dose of medications on this round…AND IT WORKED!
    • Our THIRD round of Menopure injections + timed intercourse was how we got our little miracle baby!

Everyone’s journey is different! So please please please don’t compare yourself to me or anyone.
Use this blog as a resource, as a source of hope!
If you are someone going through infertility treatments please feel free to reach out!
It is nothing to be embarrassed or shameful about.
You are not alone.

Traveling with an 8-Month Old, All the Essentials!

Hi friends!
It’s been awhile since I last wrote a post…What can I say, life has been busy!
Any who, if we’re friends on instagram then you know that Kwin, Fitz and I just went for our FIRST trip on a plane! We flew to the sunny Florida to visit my grandma for a couple days. It was refreshing to get some sunshine and warm weather to say the least!

Leading up to our travels I was feeling pretty anxious about WHAT TO PACK for my little girl! I watched countless YouTube videos, talked to family and friends and ultimately felt pretty confident with how everything went. So here is a compiled list of everything to make traveling with a little one a little easier!

DISCLAIMER REGARDING TRAVELING DURING COVID both Kwin and I are fully vaccinated as well as my grandma! We flew on Delta airlines which I was VERY impressed with; They were very strict on the “mask wearing” and had the middle seat blocked off still. Once in Florida we we made sure to follow all the “safety protocols” that we do when at home.

Packing Essentials

  • Carseat and Car Attachment- These are FREE to fly with! We checked ours at the baggage check since we had a straight flight to Fort Myers. One thing that I will do next time though is get a carseat bag! If we were going to have layovers I probably would have checked it at the gate to make sure that it gets to our final destination!
  • Stroller- We didn’t end up packing our stroller because my grandma had already gotten us one! However, many people suggest bringing it and checking it at the gate to help with moving around through the airport. These are also FREE to fly with.
  • High Chair– Depending on where you are going…most airbnb’s and hotels don’t have highchairs for your baby! We love this one as it is compact and easy to travel with
  • Pack-N-Play- We love THIS one. It is so compact and easy to travel with. My cousin recommended folding it up and packing it right in Fitz’s suitcase…GENIUS!
  • Buy a Seat vs. Infant on Lap- When flying with a baby that is <2 years old you have two options. You can buy them a seat and place their carseat directly on it to fly, or you can have the infant sit on your lap for the duration of the flight. We chose the second option and I was hoping that Fitz would sleep most of the flight anyway (she did’t, but still did AMAZING) Something you have to do if you chose the “infant on lap option” is call the airline and get them added to your boarding pass! It was very easy to get done, but important because they still need to account for her!
  • Bring baby’s birth certificate- At security check in they may or may not ask for this!
  • Diaper Bag- ALWAYS PACK 1 MORE DIAPER THAN YOU THINK YOU’LL NEED! I also had multiple outfit changes (just incase she had a blowout on the plane,) and lots of toys/distractions! To be honest though, Fitz was more interested in the packaged foods and plastic wrapped fork they gave us that she barely played with anything I brought for her.
  • Take Off and Landing- Just like adults, baby’s can struggle with the pressure changes at take off and landing! To help counter this, make sure to your feed baby! The swallowing can help relieve the pressure changes. Whether it be breastfeeding or bottle feeding, this is KEY!
  • Baby Monitor– Love these so that we weren’t stuck sitting inside during nap time.
  • Baby Carrier- Our ERGO baby carrier goes EVERYWHERE with us! It made walking through the airport, walking the beach, and just around town so easy.
  • Reusable swim diapers– I was debating between the reusable vs. disposable swim diapers and ultimately decided with the reusable ones! Not only are they better for the environment, but they also just seem to “work” better! One main difference between regular diapers and swim diapers is the fact that they don’t absorb pee! The main purpose of these diapers is to contain and poop that baby might have while in the water. PLUS I really liked that the reusable ones don’t swell up when in the water, making it really difficult for baby to move around.
  • Sunscreen– We love Baby Bum for Fitz!
  • Diapers and Wipes- These are something that we didn’t pack in our bags. To save space I just went to the store right upon arrival and stocked up for the week!

Thanks for reading! If you don’t already, make sure to follow along on our adventures on Instagram!

Baby-Led Weaning! The Messy, Fun and Realness of It

Alright guys, Fitz is officially 6 months old…and we are going to give feeding a try!
I’m not sure why, but the whole “feeding my baby” is so intimidating to me…the idea of her choking, introducing the wrong foods, or even having an allergic reaction to something is so unsettling to me.
However, all that aside, Fitz and I are going to give the concept of ‘Baby Led Weaning’ a try!

What exactly is Baby-Led Weaning (BLW?)
BLW is a method of adding foods to a baby’s already existing diet of breast milk or formula. An important moto to keep in mind is the key saying … Any food before ONE, is just for FUN! Baby-Led weaning encourages the development of age appropriate oral-motor skills, along with creating a positive and interactive experience regarding meal time. Typically parents start once their baby reaches the age of 6-months old (or older- all is baby dependent.) This type of feeding introduces finger foods FIRST and bypasses what was historically started first: purees and mashed-up foods.
It’s called baby-led because the main concept is — letting your little one feed themself the foods that they want to eat right from the beginning

When I first told me mom that I was going to be trialing BLW with Fitz, she thought I was a little crazy. Probably because when she was going through the first stages of food with myself and my brothers, they highly encouraged starting with purees! Her biggest concern was “You know that’s going to be really messy!” And while that is very true, there are so many benefits to this type of feeding that I couldn’t resist giving it a try!

  • Babies who are fed using the BLW method are more familiar with different textures&flavors, compared to babies who are fed purees. This may make them more likely to develop more varied and healthy food preferences in the long run.
  • Research has shown that babies who eat a variety of foods (including peanut products, eggs and fish) may actually be less likely to have food allergies later in life.
  • Studies show that babies are less likely to become overweight compared to children who are spoon-fed. With spoon-feeding, the parent is in control (which may make babies eat faster and more than they really need, potentially leading to a habit of ignoring feelings of fullness.)
  • BLE leads to the development of hand dexterity and hand-eye coordination skills.
  • Learning how to chew, which aids in digestion.
  • Learning how to respond to their own gag-reflex…which is REALLY strong in babies! For those who don’t know…babies gag-reflex is located in the front 1/3 of their mouth (which can be scary at first because the baby seems to gag at everything and so easily!)

Items/Tools that I purchased

  1. Bib/Smock– Like I mentioned above…this type of feeding can get pretty messy! The long-sleeve bib style has definitely helped with maintaining some cleanliness.
  2. Food Crinkle Cutter– A lot of people mentioned that cutting the foods using this crinkle cutter makes it easier for baby to grasp on to foods (especially if they are slippery!)
  3. Mat for under highchair– Again, not 100% necessary, but highly recommend to help keep things clean!
  4. Plate/mat that sticks to table- I’ve read conflicting views on whether or not the plate should have dividers to “separate foods,” so I’ll leave that up to your preference! Personally I plan to use both styles.
  5. Soft-Tip Training Spoon– This obviously goes against the idea of “finger foods;” But I used this spoon since Fitz was about 4 months old as a “practice” tool for her hand-eye coordination& hand dexterity development.

I’m going to provide some helpful resources that I’ve been using to help educate myself on this style of feeding!

  1. The Hapa Family
  2. Nekole (Kids OT Help)
  3. Feeding Littles
  4. Baby-Led Weaning Book
  5. Rachael Tucker (babyledweaningideas)

Because we are just starting… I don’t have too much to report! But I will keep you all updated on any successes/failures that Fitz and I experience while trying this new adventure(:

Winter Essentials For The Baby!

So I’ve been asked quite a bit lately by family and friends how we dress Fitz to “Bear The Elements” in the lovely Northern Michigan winter weather. And while I always start my response out with encouraging LAYERS… I do have to say that we have found some pretty cool things that help to keep Fitz nice and toasty on our outdoor adventures.

  1. Zutano Booties– These are an absolute MUST in my opinion. Fitz wears these booties/slippers everyday! They aren’t 100% baby-proof (ie. Fitz can sometimes still get them off her feet…) but they stay on so much better than just socks! Her feet stay so warm both chilling inside around the house, and also when we’re outside playing. I will say though that when we go on longer outdoor trips we double up with socks+these booties.
  2. Ergobaby Fleece Lined Winter Cover– A friend of mine showed me this, and man am I happy we got it! The cover straps right on to your Ergo baby carrier (not sure if/how it would work with other brands) and creates the most perfect cocoon of warmth for her to sit in while we are out and about.
  3. A Good SnowSuit- This might seem like common sense…but there are so many out there to pick from! We love our North Face, Patagonia and Snozu one. Yup, we have three. Anyone who has tried to buy baby clothes knows that EVERY BRAND’S SIZING IS SO DIFFERENT! We have three 3-6 month snowsuits and each of them is a completely different size. PLUS I can attest to this first hand, but having a backup snowsuit is never a bad thing!
  4. Little One Shop Co– I love this company’s clothes so much! They are super soft, stretchy and perfect for layering. You’ve probably seen Fitz wearing these outfits all the time…but I can’t help myself!
  5. Warm Fuzzy Hat and Gloves- Again, I feel like this is a no brainer. But sometimes people just gotta see it written out to remember(: We love our Patagonia, North Face and hats that we got from TJ MAXX or H&M!

People think we’re crazy for taking Fitz outside as much as we do…but gotta start them early, right?

Feeling On Top Of The World, 2nd Trimester!

I can’t believe how fast time goes when you’re pregnant! I mean it feels like just yesterday that I was secretly taking the positive pregnancy test in my bathroom, and now I’m finishing up 2nd trimester! I think it helps that throughout the entire pregnancy I’ve felt 100% normal, despite my body physically changing, not too much has changed.
I will say, most people said that 2nd trimester would be the best; I’d get my energy back, the minimal food eversions I was having would be gone, and I would just feel on top of the world. Well, thank you everyone for the positive words because YOU WERE ALL CORRECT.

A lot has been going on for Kwin and I during this trimester, as well as a lot going on in the world. So lets’ dig into the good stuff!

My Symptoms

  • Ligament Discomfort: Around week 18 I started experiencing some pelvic discomfort, most notable after being on my feet all day at work, or after a long walk/hike. The discomfort is not unbearable, just more of an annoying feeling. To help with this I’ve been seeing a Chiropractor weekly (shout out to Dr.Darnell at Torch Lake Chiropractic) as well as stretching everyday and incorporating Yoga into our workout regimen more.
  • Winded easily with high cardiac activity– This hasn’t gotten any worse than it was during 1st trimester, but still gets in the way of hiking sometimes! I do know that it’s important not to get my heart rate up too high during pregnancy, so I’m taking the winded feeling as more of a sign to “slow down!”
  • Feeling baby girl kick all the time– This isn’t a bad symptoms at all; In-fact, it’s my favorite thing nowadays! Even if she wakes me in the middle of the night with a kung-fu like kick in the bladder, her movements give me the greatest feeling in the world. I’d say that I started feeling her around week 18, but was kinda uncertain if what I was feeling was actually her. It wasn’t until our 20 week ultrasound that it was confirmed! What I was feeling was indeed her; that’s because we caught all her movements on camera(:

My Cravings

There is NO DOUBT that this child is Kwin’s (Inside joke.) One reason I say this is because ALL of my cravings and eversions are Kwin’s favorite foods to eat and foods he could care less to eat. It’s so interesting how that happens, but in all honesty I don’t mind at all (and neither does Kwin…we’re eating his favorite foods for dinner all the time!)

  • Pasta or Pizza– I’m usually the type of person looking to “health-ify” everything we eat, and this includes pasta (can you say spaghetti squash or zoodles!) But lately, I’ve wanted the FULL gluten, drenched in pesto sauce pasta, or a good pizza.
  • FRUIT– Similar to my 1st trimester, if I could eat fresh fruit all day then I would! Especially the sour/citrus fruits- like pineapple, raspberries, oranges, mango’s, berries.
  • Cranberry Juice– Again, not something I usually fill my glass with; but one of Kwin’s favorite things!
  • Big Salads– I do still love me a big salad filled with lots of veggies. If I’m not craving pasta/pizza, I’m wanting a salad. It’s all about balance, right?
  • NOT A CRAVING, but I don’t have much of a pallet for sweets anymore…and if you know me, you know I’m a sweetaholic!

My Favorite Investments I’ve Made

  • Lulu Lemon leggings– The Align leggings are a gift from the heavens! The high waist band on them allows for your belly to continue growing, without cutting into it or making you feel suffocated. If they weren’t so darn expensive, I think my whole wardrobe would consist of these leggings!
  • Bamboo pant expanders– I’ve been very fortunate to really only be “gaining weight” in my stomach region. I fit in most of my pre-pregnancy pants still, except having a hard time buttoning now. For this reason I was trying to find some good “pant expanders” that wouldn’t show under the shirt I would be wearing. These guys past the test! Super happy with this purchase and will even be able to use them with my shorts this summer.
  • Bamboo nursing bra– Having sore and growing boobs has made me reevaluate my bra situation. I refuse to buy new bra’s because I know this is only a temporary thing…but guys these bra’s are the comfiest things I’ve ever worn! I wear it 99% of the days!
  • Lotion for my growing belly to help prevent stretch marks– I understand that stretch marks are almost inevitable, but if I can try and prevent them in anyway, then I will! I’ve been using lotion from Primally Pure, or just coconut oil on my stomach twice a day! So far, so good!
  • Apps I’ve been using to help track my growing baby:
    • What To Expect- Weekly updates on what baby girl is doing, how big she is, and what my body it going through too! Another nice feature of this app is that I am included is a forum with other momma’s who are also due in July 2020. It’s nice to see what other women are going through as well!
    • The Bump- Similar to the one above, except it doesn’t have the momma forum. I like both apps as they usually share the same information…but maybe a few different things!

COVID-19 And It’s Impact On Us

I’ll be honest, I was kinda a mess at first when the chaos of COVID-19 came around. All the uncertainty of the virus, plus the uncertainty of how it could impact pregnancy and my growing baby…to say I was scared is an understatement. Especially being a nurse, where I am still required to work (lucky for me, I work in the Oncology world and feel very safe around my patients!) After much research, discussion with my OB, and other momma’s going through the same things… I started to feel better. WE’RE ALL IN THIS TOGETHER!
-COVID-19 has had some negative impacts on our daily lives. Kwin is NOT allowed to go to any of our pre-natal appointments with me right now, I’ve had to cancel/ postpone baby girl’s baby showers, and we weren’t allowed to travel anywhere for spring break!
-COVID-19 has also has some positive impacts on our daily lives. It has allowed Kwin and I to spend a lot of quality time together before baby girl joins our family. We have also accomplished A LOT of chores around the house that have been put off for the past 5 years (basically since we moved in,) and lastly we started working on her nursery!

Adventures

  • Due to COIVD-19 being around for most of my 2nd trimester, Kwin and I were not able to travel much for adventures. However, this time allowed us to explore new trails and old favorites close by!
  • Some of our favorites are: Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, Brown Bridge Quiet Area, Maple Bay and just around our own house!

I hope you enjoyed a little glimpse of what we’ve been up to over the past couple months!
Stay home. Stay safe. And stay healthy during these crazy times!