What Da Fluff? Monthly Cloth Diaper Subscription Box {Product Review}

There seems to be a subscription box for darn near everything nowadays. I was pleasantly surprised when I ran across a monthly subscription box for DIAPERS! Not just any diapers though- cloth diapers. What Da Fluff is a family owned and operated company (which I love) who does a monthly subscription box (which I love) which includes cloth diapers and related products (which I love). For just $15/ month or $165/year, you will receive a package with:

Screen Shot 2017-08-08 at 4.22.02 PMNow, this says “one male themed diaper” and thats only because I chose the “Boy Box”. However, you can chose from boy, girl, or gender neutral.

What makes receiving the “box” even more exciting, is the packaging. It is so much prettier than a plain cardboard box with a label slapped on it.
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So, what was inside?
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1- Kijani Swim Diaper
1- Reusable Cold Pack
3- TEViVE Tea Bags
-and-
2- Sweet treats!

 

 

 

What else I love about this whole thing? Everything is affordable -AND- if you fall in love with whats in your package, if available, you can buy the extra inventory off the website’s shop at the end of the month!

My star rating for What Da Fluff? is definitely at a 5 out of 5! The subscription itself is super affordable, the diaper product is of good quality and affordable, the packaging is decorative and not just plain jane AND its a family owned and operated company!

Don’t worry about the need to #buyallthediapers, subscribe for some #fluffmail and you’ll be equally as happy!

Kirstyn

**Burrito Buzz received this product at low or no cost for the purpose of review or testing. No compensation for a positive review was provided. All product reviews are based 100% off of our personal experiences with a product and we never guarantee a positive review.**

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Minivan Mama

I officially gained my “soccer mom” status this summer when we traded in my little blue SUV for a MINIVAN. And let me tell you, it was one of the best decisions I have ever made!! It’s true love. I knew I 17194_600always wanted a minivan someday, because I grew up with my parents always having one, and it always just seemed like the most practical with kiddos. What I didn’t know is how much I would not miss my old car and absolutely love this van!

My husband I had been talking about them for a while and finally buckled down and started researching them after we had our second child. We were tired of not having a lot of room in the car especially if we needed to take any extra people anywhere. Two car seats take up a lot of space. We looked at several minivans on the market, but narrowed it down to the Toyota and Honda. We did have a rental Chrysler that we were happy with as well. After test driving, we were actually surprised at how easy the decision was with the Honda Odyssey. The vans were priced roughly the same, but the Honda just felt like it was made better. We didn’t dislike the Toyota (my hubby drives a Toyota Tundra), but the Honda was just better.

 

 

We waited several weeks for the specific model and color to come in that we wanted, but once it arrived, it was love at first sight. I was so anxious and excited that Saturday morning we were able to go and pick it up with the kids. Our 3 year old was excited for the “new van!” too. It was bittersweet leaving our old SUV, but there are new reasons every day why I am so thankful to be a minivan mama now . . .

Here’s a few of them . . .

1.       The automatic sliding side doors… need I say more?! I don’t have to worry about my kids or I banging any cars parked next to us with our doors. You know how loading and unloading our kiddos goes, these door make it a dream come true!! Because of the sliding doors, the opening is so much bigger than an average car door – WONDERFUL! The doors also open and close by the simple push of a button from either the key fob, by the driver’s seat, or on the inside of the sliding doors themselves.

 

2.       Not only is there more room in the doorways, there’s more room EVERYWHERE in this car. I can honestly say I’ve been a passenger in every seat and never once did I feel like I had no space to move. And if you need more room . . . You can MAKE more room . . .

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3.       . . . You can make that extra space because of the movable seats. I know this is typical with most minivans and vehicles with a third row of seats, but the way the Honda was set up was another big selling point for me. Our Odyssey has the option to have an eighth seat. All of the seats are removable (except the front), but with the Odyssey you can have an eighth seat in the middle of the second row. You can easily remove that middle seat of the second row to have 2 captains chairs and an aisle way to the back row, or you can leave it in place to complete the row and have an extra seat. The seat also folds down as an arm rest if it’s left in place. The third row of seats EASILY folds down into the trunk of the van. When we drove to the beach this summer, we opted to fold the third row down so we had TONS of room for luggage and could still see out the back window.

 

4.       Handles on the high way – We drove the minivan on the West Virginia turnpike on our way to Myrtle Beach this past summer, and it handled so much better than my husband’s truck the year before. We could set the cruise control and not have to waver and hit the brake on those winding highway turns.

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5.       Good on gas – I know the gas tank in the minivan is bigger than my tank was in my SUV, but I swear still that the van gets better gas mileage. According to Honda, the Odyssey gets 19 mpg on city streets and 27 mpg highway. Either way, its way better on gas than a huge SUV would be!

 

6.        Does NOT ride like a bus – I traded in a small SUV for my minivan. I had driven it for 5 years. I will say that I was the most anxious that the minivan was going to feel like I was driving a bus after driving my little SUV. I was so wrong. The van does not feel any bigger to me. I would say it sits up off the road the same height as my old car. Even though the van is significantly longer, I really haven’t noticed other than making sure I pull in the garage far enough. The back-up camera has made this easier as well!

 

7.       Bang for the Buck – I’m telling you, you cannot beat a minivan. Even if you have a small family like we do, it is worth considering. For some reason, they get a bad rap, but I can’t think of one negative thing to say about mine. Maybe I don’t look the “coolest” driving the minivan around, but that is the last thing I’m worried about. Most companies offer all the bells and whistles you can find in luxury cars and SUVs, so don’t think those options aren’t available in a van. It’s convenient, affordable, and I know my kids are safe – that’s what matters to me.

If you’re thinking about getting a new vehicle for your new family, growing family, or just want more seats/space, take a look at a minivan. Check out all the options. Take them for a test drive. I think you’ll love it! And if you take the plunge like we did and buy one, you won’t regret it!

-Megan

 

Chore Wars

Let’s talk chores…

I’ve polled this. I’ve asked other parents. I’ve googled the heck out of it…and it boils down to 50/50. I’ll start by saying my kids do chores. My (almost) 4 yr old dusted my cold-air intake the other day. It looked like garbage when he was done, and I re-did it, but he was so damn excited about it. img_4303

Parents who are for it said things like:

“It teaches them to work in a family”
“Chores raise kids to be better adults”
“Chores help kids understand important life skills”
“Children gain a sense of accomplishment”
“Don’t you have kids for free labor?”
“You have to teach them responsibility”

Now flip the tables:

“Chores annoy me as an adult, so I’m sure my kids would be annoyed and that’s emotionally damaging”
“They already have enough to do between sleepovers, playing outside with friends and homework”
“Kids aren’t adults. Housework is for adults”
“Kids need fun and fresh air. Not housework”
“Chores should be considered child cruelty”
“If kids do chores in their free time, all they will do it grow up to be housekeepers”

You ready for these two? These are by far the best most ridiculous answers…. brace yourselves:

“Parents who have their children do chores are just lazy and shouldn’t have to rely on their kids to do their jobs”
“Forcing someone to do work is considered slavery. Individuals should be allowed to choose what they do in life for their own gain. Kids are kids. Not slaves”

I can’t. I just can’t even entertain those.

915497.jpgAlright. So like I said, it’s clearly an equally debatable topic between us lazy slave drivers and the others. Just kidding. We’re not lazy slave drivers and I’m still baffled that someone even used that as a comparison.

Studies has shown and proven that children need chores. A professor from University of Minnesota, Dr. Rossmann, did a pretty extensive study on this whole topic. “Giving children household chores at an early age helps to build a lasting sense of mastery, responsibility and self-reliance…

She “analyzed data from a longitudinal study that followed 84 children across four periods in their lives—in preschool, around ages 10 and 15, and in their mid-20s. She found that young adults who began chores at ages 3 and 4 were more likely to have good relationships with family and friends, to achieve academic and early career success and to be self-sufficient, as compared with those who didn’t have chores or who started them as teens”.
So it seems that her study was pretty conclusive to the fact that us who enforce chores are in fact not slave drivers, we’re just raising a generation more likely to be responsible and successful. Now, I’m not saying that kids that don’t do chores aren’t responsible and won’t be successful…what I am saying… well not even what I am saying…what the studies are saying is there is a correlation between success and chores. 17787369286_0c5db0b3a5

Now, no one is saying to make your toddler scrub toilets and go outside and clean up dog poop… the key here is age-appropriate chores. This list is all
of the things that your child within that age range should be perfectly capable of doing… will it be perfect? no. will you probably have to re-do it the first few times? yes. Is it for their own good? Absolutely.

So trust me. You’re not a slave driver and your kids won’t be emotionally scarred from having to put their laundry in the hamper by themselves. Handling spoons and forks won’t kill them and dumping dog food into a bowl isn’t the end of the world.

Teach your kids to contribute. Studies have shown, it’s worth it in the end.

-Kirstyn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IVF: The Novel

I’m titling this preemptively because I’m assuming this one may be long, but I hope that doesn’t discourage you from reading on. It’s amazing how little people know about IVF. When I don’t feel like going into the nitty gritty, I usually say something like “oh you know, like a test tube baby.” First off, it’s more like a petri dish and secondly, this makes IVF sound so much simpler than it actually is. And as someone who has gone through it, I’m proud as hell of myself and should brag about how amazing my dedication to being a mom is.

IVF is not for the weak. Do you hate needles/shots/blood draws/invasive ultrasounds? You’ll get over that really quickly. There are many, many IVF protocols and drug combinations, so I will only be talking about the one I did, which is called the Antagonist Protocol with birth control. I’m not going to mess with the science of all of it, but basically you take the birth control to calm your ovaries down and prevent any follicles (which is where the egg comes from) from forming. That way, when you start the injections meant to make your ovaries grow as many eggs as possible, they all grow at close to the same rate. Then once your follicles get to a certain size, you introduce another shot to keep your body from ovulating all those eggs you’re working so hard to grow!

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My table of IVF drugs!! Shots, shots, shots!!

For me, I think the birth control was worse than the shots as far as symptoms are concerned. I hate birth control. It messes with my mood, my skin, gives me headaches, and I had hoped I would never need it again! I think most people on this protocol only take about 3 weeks worth, but mine got pushed a little longer because my doctor was on vacation and I wanted to wait for him.

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Last birth control pill!

I took my last birth control on a Tuesday, and started my injections on that following Sunday. For me, it helped me feel more relaxed and in control to try and have all my bases covered before starting stims. I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel and wanted to be able to focus on relaxing and growing follicles. I spent the weekend prior to starting injections and majorly cleaned our house. I also made sure I had all my prescriptions (and there are a lot!) and medications ready to go. On top of the shots, you have a pretty decent pull regime going on at certain times of your cycle. It’s important to know what you’re taking and when. I know for awhile I was taking over 80 pills and vitamins a week!

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So. Many. Pills.

My clinic also wanted me on a high sodium diet during and after stims to help prevent OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome). This is caused by your ovaries working extra hard and causing a buildup of fluid that if left untreated, can lead to death. Your doctor should be keeping a close eye on you for this anyway, but anything you can do to prevent this is obviously a good idea! So prior to starting stims, I went to Sam’s Club and stocked up.

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High sodium and high protein!

My nurse had instructed me to drink at least 32oz of Gatorade a day, so it was nice to have plenty and not have to worry about picking up more.

Onto the shots! Day 1 was obviously the worst. And the belly shots (for me anyway) honestly weren’t bad. I did them myself, because I can be a control freak and I’d just rather be the one stabbing myself in the belly!

Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday I was on two injections at night. Medicines called Menopur and Gonal-F. The Gonal-F came in a pen and was super easy to use and inject. The Menopur you had to mix but thankfully my husband did it for me. It helped him feel a little more involved. The Menopur burned a little, so I would just ice my stomach for a few minutes while we were getting everything ready. Wednesday was my first monitoring appointment! This is when they do an ultrasound to see how everything is going, do a blood check to check different hormone levels, and adjust your dosages if needed.

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So many dates with the ultrasound wand!

During this appointment, we added in a third shot that I’d do in the mornings. This was to prevent ovulation of my eggs early! Friday morning was my one and only little stim meltdown when I had a bubble in my Cetrotide (the shot to prevent ovulation) and I swear I wasted too much medicine trying to get that bubble out. I also turned one shot into 3, trying to get the bubble out. Turns out, it wouldn’t have been a big deal since it’s a subcutaneous shot and not going into a vein, but oh well. All was okay, but it took some convincing from my IVF nurse.

I responded quickly to stims and when we went in Sunday morning for another monitoring appt, we were told we would most likely be triggering that night for retrieval on Tuesday! The trigger shot provides your body with a final hormone to get your eggs ready to ovulate. Without the trigger, those eggs won’t be ready to retrieve. This shot goes in your booty, so my husband got the honors of this one! We had to do it at 9:00pm on the dot, which was a good thing, no time for hesitation! After that, we were done with shots until after retrieval!

I already wrote a small article on retrieval, so I’ll skip over that, but you can read all about it and my tips for retrieval here.

Egg retrieval recovery wasn’t too bad for me. I took the day off and the day after, too, which was the perfect amount of time. The trapped gas and constipation was the worst part for me. IVF is so glamorous. Unfortunately, as if egg retrieval surgery isn’t enough for one day, your PIO shots will also start that night if you’re doing a fresh transfer.

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The DREADED PIO…

Progesterone in oil and yes, that whole needle has to go in your butt and hopefully you will need this every night for the next 8-10 weeks! Since your body isn’t becoming pregnant naturally, it takes some time for it to catch on and start producing progesterone naturally, and progesterone is needed to stay pregnant. My husband also had to do these for me and I think he hated it more than I did. They look worse than they are, usually. It seems to be hit or miss with no rhyme or reason. I plan to write another post just on these babies one day.

The day after egg retrieval, I received a call from our embryologists to let us know how many eggs fertilized. At our clinic they call you day 1 and day 3 with reports on how everything is growing. There are certain things they look for and a certain amount of times embryos should divide. We did our transfer on day 5, when they hit the blastocyst stage. We transferred one embaby and froze the others. ❤

I will continue the story of our transfer day in another blog post, so stay tuned!

– Chelsea

I Am The 1-In-4

“I’ll see you in my dreams tonight.
I’ll kiss your cheek and hold you tight.
I have no more tears left to cry.
You’ve flown away, my butterfly.”

This is not going to be a typical BurritoBuzz blog post. Typically we’re reviewing products, being sarcastic, writing about Lego’s and organization. We’re making our readers laugh and living the happy mommy dream one post at a time. However, I am sharing with you today about a topic that isn’t talked about, taboo in a sense; people aren’t made aware of it because no one talks about it and it’s heartbreaking: pregnancy loss. This is going to be real and this is going to be tear-jerking, but not only do I want others to be able to try to understand, I want other moms who have experienced loss to know that the moms here at BurritoBuzz sympathize with you, can relate and are here for you. 

**Please keep in mind that this is my experience. If you have cramping, bleeding, back pain or another out-of-the-norm symptom, please call your doctor or visit your nearest ER as soon as possible. **

I couldn’t even think of a witty typical BurritoBuzz title for this post and I’m sure that has to do with the fact I simply can’t think at all right now. It’s like a blurred shade has been pulled over my eyes and I just go through the motions to make it through the day.

Nothing I can put into words will truthfully help anyone understand. It’s one of those situations, that if you haven’t been there, you can’t even begin to imagine the pain. It’s one of the worst things I have experienced in my entire life, and I’m still trying to figure out how to make it from day to day. I promise I’m not being overly dramatic, it absolutely f*cking sucks. a27c0fe7949608c3784b2b824e541dd3

The wounds are fresh and very, very new. Not even a week ago, I was being rushed to the ER via ambulance with my 10 week old fetus in a tiny little container on my lap. I had suffered a spontaneous complete miscarriage at home at 9:42pm on Thursday, September 8th, 2016.

Let me start from the beginning. Here’s how it all happened:

Sunday, September 4th – I was seen in the ER for minor spotting with no accompanied cramps. An ultrasound was done and we were told our baby was fine, growing right on schedule, strong heartbeat and the spotting was from a subchorionic hematoma and there was nothing to worry about. Given the positive news, Danny (my husband) left for a funeral in California.

Tuesday, September 6th – I was back in the ER, as the blood had increased, still no cramping. Given the same information as before in regards to the baby being healthy and everything looking perfect.

Wednesday, September 7th – I was seen by an OB. I had yet another ultrasound where she told me everything was perfect, the baby looked great. I still had the subchorionic hematoma, but there was no harm to me or the baby. She told me I had a less than 2% chance of pregnancy loss. I was told to expect some minor (if any) cramping while the bleed cleared itself out. She then reiterated the “low, low risk of loss.” I remember hugging her as I left and thanking her because she put my mind at ease. I immediately called Danny and told him the great news.

Thursday, September 8th – Typical day at home. No bleeding. Few twingy cramps here and there, but nothing worrisome, all to “be expected.” I laid down in bed with C (he sleeps in my bed when Danny is out of town). I felt a peculiar “pop” right above my pelvic bone and vaguely remembering Googling “can you feel you baby move at 10 weeks?” While reading about how chances are extremely slim, I felt more wetness than normal. I figured I was spotting again. I had light panty liner on, so no worries. However, felt the urge to go pee. I stood up out of bed and from there to the hospital is a huge blur. I remember barely making it to my tile floor before the amount of blood became alarming, as it pooled around my feet. I remember trying to stay calm since my 3 year old son was still awake. I remember sitting on the floor of the bathroom on the phone with Danny telling him I had a miscarriage and was holding our 10 week old fetus in my hands. He didn’t want to believe me, swore I was mistaken because less than 36 hours prior I was told everything was perfect. I called my mother-in-law to come stay with C and I sat on the bathroom floor, in a huge puddle of blood, clots and tissue, with our baby, crying hysterically. I remember intermittently answering and making phone calls to my husband and listened to his beg and plea for me to be okay and get to the hospital. I remember trying to clean up the floor before my mother-in-law got there. I suppose this was out of embarrassment and instinct. I don’t remember her coming over and I don’t remember calling 911, but now know the reason I did was the amount of blood I lost. I don’t remember how my baby got placed into a tiny Tupperware container. I don’t remember the ambulance ride or getting to the hospital. I was in such a daze. A blank stare daze. I didn’t speak. I didn’t think. I didn’t move. I laid in the hospital bed, still hemorrhaging severely while the doctors did whatever they needed to. There were so many people, so many questions, gowns, blankets and IVs. My heart rate was through the roof and my blood pressure was low.  I had lost a significant amount of blood, to the point they were hanging bags of blood to give me (which I guess I refused until 100% medically necessary). They estimated from 9:42pm to the time I had gotten to the hospital, I lost between 550-575 ml of blood. I don’t remember anything else past that point. I was discharged roughly 8 hours later with instructions, narcotics and an empty womb.

September 9th-12th – Bleeding, mild cramping, exhaustion and still emotionally numb.

Monday, September 12th – I followed up with OB today and it was horrible. I walked down the hallway of the Women’s Health Clinic as the sound of fetal heart monitors echoed out of the rooms and into the hallway. The doctor came in, did an ultrasound and said that aside from some average clots and a thick uterine lining, my body had expelled everything itself, as if I was somehow unaware of this. She prescribed Cytotec to re-induce labor, Percocet and Ibuprofen for pain. The Cytotec will “shorten the rest of the process to 1-2 days”. I can’t write about my experience with the Cytotec because I haven’t began taking it yet and haven’t decided if I will. If I chose to take it, I will write about it. My body is naturally doing what it is supposed to do and the doctor said everything will resolve itself. I did not need and as of right now, will not need a D&C. This appointment was extremely hard. Not only did I see the same doctor who told me the day before I miscarried that everything was “perfect,” but I also saw my barren uterus. The same uterus that was so full of life, kicking feet and a beating heart last week. It really took a bigger toll on my already fragile emotional state.

Emotionally, I’m still not sure what is going through my head. The “Stages of Grief Cycle” is  a universal kinda thing but what is all true is that we all grieve differently and this cycle is a bunch of bullshit. Just because I’m choosing to share my story doesn’t mean I am in the “Dialogue and Bargaining” stage and given how I’m feeling, I am image011_0somewhere between my personally improvised grief cycle categories of “not wanting to get out of bed in the morning” and “sitting on the couch in a daze all day.” What has truthfully helped me a teeny tiny bit, is the outreaching of my family and friends who have been there and experienced a loss. The support of my husband is outstanding and people have come out of the woodwork to offer their condolences and share their stories. They’ve offered “tips and tricks” for what has helped them, links to websites, books, songs, blogs, etc. Does it heal the pain? Absolutely not. Does it help by surrounding yourself with others who can truthfully relate? Absolutely. Surround yourself with anyone and everyone you feel comfortable with and bask in the love and support you’ll receive. There have been moments when I want to be 100% alone and just be able to cry and scream without anyone consoling me. There have been moments when I want someone around because I won’t breakdown around others and it’s nice to be able to feel “normal” in the sense of having a casual conversation. It’s a crazy mixture of wanting people around, but wanting to be alone. I’ve found myself locked in my bedroom with a house full of people just to keep myself from having a panic attack. There are other days when I have been at my mother-in-law’s house, laughing and interacting with other members of the family. I do want to take an extra moment and touch on my wonderful husband. Even from over 2000 miles away he has been my rock through all of this. He answers the phone no matter what time of day, he calls numerous times a day to make sure I’m okay and he knows how to make me laugh even through all of this. He even sent me a dozen red roses to ensure I knew he was here for me. I have never doubted his support and do not fault him for being away. If we received even a slight bit of hesitant news on that Sunday, he wouldn’t have left. I strongly encourage you to take comfort in your spouse or significant other. They may not show it as emotionally as you will but trust me, they’re hurting just as bad.
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I can’t tell you how to grieve and I can’t give you a timeline as to when the pain will subside because frankly, I don’t think it ever will completely. What I can provide is a support system and the ability for you to reach out to someone who has been there, understands what you’re going through and can offer a sympathetic shoulder to cry on.

I’m here for you, mama. We’re here for you. You’re not just a 1-in-4 statistic like the world labels you as. You’re a grieving mom to an Angel Baby. 

– Kirstyn

 

27 Steps to Being an Awesome Stay-at- Home-Mom

howtobeanawesomestayathomemom

  1. Wake up before your kids.
  2. Schedule your meals and cook ahead to save time.
  3. Always plan time for your own physical activity.
  4. Have a set routine.
  5. Be sure to have naptime and meals at the same time every day.
  6. Schedule your cleaning and only tackle one chore a day.
  7. Don’t forget to have play dates.
  8. This list is a bunch of crap… Sorry about the click bait.

If you’re a stay at home parent, you’re laughing hysterically at this list because 99% of the time all of those are virtually impossible.

I am so sick of seeing Mommy Blog posts about “How to be a Stay at Home Mom”

10 Things To Ensure You Are A Great Stay At Home Mom

6 Ways To Be A Productive Stay At Home Mom

How To Afford Being a Stay At Home Mom

Habits of an Effective Stay At Home Mom

It’s all a bunch of malarkey. You want to know why? Because it looks different for every single mom. Heck, sometimes it looks completely different and it’s a stay at home dad.**gasp** I’m guilty though, because yes, I do click on and read almost all of them. Hoping and praying that somehow this little circus that I got myself into can be more manageable. 210037d0f899f9dc49d3d5edf759ee48.jpgHonestly, I wish I had an answer for all of your stay at home mom questions, but I don’t. I have tips and tricks that have worked for me and my family, but I guarantee that they won’t work for everyone.

What will help is some brutal honesty.

You will never sleep. Like ever. It just doesn’t happen. We get the kids to bed, I try to get some chores done, spend time with my husband, get ready for bed and by the time I am in bed it is 11pm. In two or three hours, my 2 year old will be up wandering the halls asking for her soccer ball or something ridiculous. After getting her back to bed, I lay back down and generally get another 2 hours of sleep because one or both of my little ones are up at 5 AM every day. Every single day. Today it was 4:45…2e2b5526ce131e18a20537f492be2c1a

3 or 4 hours of sleep at night on repeat. My husband works nights,  so sleep is just out of the questions for like, ever. Getting up early for “me time” and to get ready for the day is hilarious.

I have some OCD tendencies but I despise housework. It’s not that I don’t do it. My house is almost always spotless. Especially if we are planning on having company over. I do it, but that doesn’t mean I like it. Your chores never go away. It is a constant stream of dishes, laundry, vacuuming, picking up, dusting, washing the floors, cleaning up outside, cleaning up after pets, picking up toys. Your house never gets a break. No one is at work and daycare all day. It is constantly getting filthy. It might not stay that way for long, but you never stop moving. Between chasing kids and picking up toys, you don’t sit down a whole lot. I never understand when people say they love doing dishes or laundry. I never used to hate it, but I do now. It’s a constant chore that never ends. Someone always has something dirty in their room or on them, and there is always a sippy cup or snack cup hidden away that needs washed.87322a94dfae2c55e7abf4b3e472b313

I told my husband the other day that I am an awesome stay at home mom but I suck at being a housewifeThere are many days when I am asked what’s for dinner and the answer is “whatever you can find and you better use paper products.”

It’s hard. Our job is never done.

Your coworkers like to touch you a lot, they are mean sometimes and they don’t do a whole lot of work.  Quietly sitting at the computer typing this post and que the 2 year old that just jumped on my back requesting a “pony ride.”  There is also a 1 year old over in the corner emptying a basket full of freshly folded clothes on top of the very hairy lab.

You’re never alone. There isn’t a lot of explanation for this. It’s simple. You are your children’s everything, so that means they have to be attached to you all day long. Good luck with your coffee break. I just warmed mine up for the 3rd time this morning.6.png

People will ask you if you want help all the time.  Believe it or not, I really can do this. I have two kids and taking them to the store with me is my job. Cleaning my house with kids at home is my job, among many other things.

I will let you spend time with my kids, and sometimes, yes you do need to get out, but I promise you can do chores and things without people helping you all the time. Help is nice. I have been getting better about letting people give me a hand, but just be warned. People have this attitude that because you didn’t wash your hair today that you must need help. It’s annoying and approaching disrespectful. If I was anyone else doing a hard job, would you offer to give me a break because I had a long day? This is a 24/7 job and I am well aware that I signed up for a crazy job.

When are you getting a real job? ……Please ask me that one more time, I dare you. People even say “I just could never stay home and not work, I would have to get a real job and provide for my child.” So when you are at your “real job”, do you hire a real person to watch your kids or a fake one? People are ignorant, say it to your face and want an actual answer, like what they said wasn’t the stupidest thing you’ve ever heard. I am warning you now, if you haven’t heard it already, you will.14088651_1756641454589235_5618134841622901219_n.jpg

Being a homebody isn’t a bad thing. I love being at home. Ever heard of yoga pants and leggings?  An endless supply of coffee and baby breath? Keep it coming. I literally have to pump myself up to go out with friends. Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends. I love spending time with other adults. I know it is important. I just like my kids, my coffee, my Netflix and my blog more than dinner and drinks.

“Affording” to be a stay at home mom isn’t easy. Affording is in quotes because I am still trying to figure that out. I am not a couponer. I shop sales and I shop at Aldi. We don’t do a lot of extra stuff, we are a middle class suburban family and I am happy that way. We don’t always get all the new shiny things we want, and there are times that I look back at a month when we had extra expenses and wonder how we did it. But you make it. I promise that there is always a way that things work out. All we knew was that we could pay all of our bills and a little more on one income, that we wanted the kids to have me 24/7, until they were at least in school and that we were going to make it work.83ec59e162040d21c114725fb105aa92

You will never regret the decision to stay home and it is so much fun! I have always wanted to be a stay at home mom. Luckily, my dream came true. Such a simple dream. There is never a bad day when I say “if I could just clock out and go to work.” You will never regret getting extra time with your kids. Getting to see every single milestone unfold before your eyes. Teaching them everything and watching them learn from you. It really is a gift. Don’t take it lightly and don’t brag to your working mom friends about it either.

Not everyone can do it. Being a stay at home mom is not for everyone and there is nothing wrong with that. Working parents are beyond awesome! I have a friend who is an amazing mother but would lose her mind if she was surrounded by her kids all day. Not everyone can do it and that’s completely normal. If you are a working parent, don’t feel bad about working. You spend time and teach your children in your own way, and provide them with awesome caregivers.

Time is fleeting and whatever time we get with our tiny humans is a blessing.

Now that this written  maybe I wrote it for myself, to make me feel better. I don’t know. I just hope that someone can relate and has days where they feel like this is the craziest job on the planet, too. ❤

– Amanda

Should I Ask For Help When Trying to Conceive?

How long is too long to TTC without a doctor’s help? Obviously I am no doctor, but if you’re asking yourself this question, maybe my opinion will help ease your mind!

A simple Google search will probably lead you to an answer like these:

  • 1 year of trying if you’re under the age of 35
  • 6 months if you’re over the age of 35

Your OB/GYN might also stick to those guidelines. This might be very good advice too; I normally like to assume that doctors know what they’re talking about more than I do. For me though, I made my first “family planning” appointment with an OB/GYN after about 8 months of trying.

I did this because I wasn’t having regular periods. It’s extremely hard to chart your cycle when you don’t cycle (and a lot of wasted pregnancy tests.. and man, they expensive!). So my husband finally convinced me to go. They ended up offering us help and treatments right off the bat due to this. Turns out not having periods is very unhealthy and can lead to cancer. So if you’re reading this and haven’t had a period in over 90 days, please go see a doctor whether or not you’re trying to conceive.

I can’t say whether or not you’ll be offered help before a year, but I can say it doesn’t hurt to ask and be proactive. Especially if you truly think something is wrong. I’ve learned in this infertility journey that it really pays off to be well informed and to advocate for yourself. But you also need to trust your doctor and if you don’t, you need to find a new doctor that you can trust. There’s nothing wrong with going and asking for help! You’re not alone and needing a little help is nothing to be ashamed of. ❤

– Chelsea

Putting my Career on Hold

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A snapshot of my LinkedIn, where I diligently try to pretend I’m a part of the corporate workforce. I’m part of the mommy workforce, is what this should say
saParenting requires sacrifice, that’s a given. Most often, our sacrifices are merely based on how we prioritize our lives. In my own, the health, happiness, and general well-being of my son is first, followed closely by the health of my relationship with my husband. After those two priorities, my list becomes a little jumbled and perhaps it’s just one giant third category that includes friends, family, our financial state, other various responsibilities, and my career.pt

“Career” seems like a distant word for me now. Families are composed of all varieties: one partner working and the other being stay at home parent, both partners working, single moms, single dads, grandparents responsible for their grandchildren and the list goes on. In our home, my husband and I both worked full-time career-path jobs before I became pregnant. We each graduated with a bachelor’s degree from Kent State University and quickly moved into the daily white-collar rat race. While I didn’t always enjoy my job, I was moving up. Receiving promotions, raises, perks, more vacation time. There was a reason to work hard, because there was opportunity for growth.

I knew pretty quickly after finding out I was pregnant that I didn’t want my son growing up his first few years with two full-time working parents, if it was at all possible to avoid. And, I also knew that we couldn’t possibly survive on one income, or even 1.5 incomes. We did some intense budgeting for me to go part-time at a new job, cutting out luxuries we had become accustomed like TV, which I actually don’t miss all that much. For me, I knew that working part time was ideal. I could raise my son, enjoy the early years teaching him, be able to take him to doctor’s appointments and play dates, and know that he wasn’t in daycare 50 hours a week.

But, the sacrifice that came with that was stifling. Thankfully, raising my child has indefinitely been the most fulfilling thing I’ve ever done, but my lack of fulfillment in my job was unexpected. I now work part-time as an office manager at a local nonprofit. There is little extrinsic, or even intrinsic, value to my job. I bust ass and get things done, and my days usually go quickly because I’m busy. But there is no upward mobility. No ladder to the next position. No career advances.

It’s humbling. Really. I’ve found that I stress less at my current position because I’m not in competition with the person in the next office over for the next raise. It’s just me, doing my best every day, fully knowing that there is no benefit to doing my best.fallingSo am I falling behind?

Once my son heads off to school, I plan on heading back into the workforce full-time. Will I be overwhelmed? Will I be the old person that knows nothing? Will I be able to get a job? Will I remember my workplace skills?

These questions nag at me every so often. When I look at my LinkedIn profile and realize that it should really read “great at super quick diaper changes” or “professional at neutralizing toddler tantrums”… it makes me wonder if I should have a LinkedIn profile at all.regrets

But here’s the thing:

I will never, not once, regret raising my son. It will not happen.

Jobs will come and go. The corporate rat race will continue indefinitely.

My son will only be little once. I count myself fortunate to be able to swing our finances in a way that I’m able to be part-time, because I do realize that this is a blessing that many families couldn’t possibly consider doing.

ImportantSo for now, I will treasure every day with my toddler. I’ll worry less about the corporate world. I’ll keep my connections and continue networking. And when the day comes that I head back into the workforce, I’ll face it proud with the years that I’ve just spent raising a little boy. Because my husband and I both know, raising our child is the most important job there is.

And to my wonderful, amazing husband that does work full-time making it possible for me to be part-time, I love you and appreciate you more than you’ll ever know. 

As an aside, if you’re wondering what the value of a stay-at-home mom is, check out this articleKT

How To Be There For Your Infertile Friend

So your friend opened up to you and shared that she’s having problems getting pregnant. (And if you’re a good friend, this will happen. Infertility is way more common than you probably think). Your first instinct is probably, ‘Crap! What do I say? What do I do to help her?’ As a member of the infertility club, I’m here to give you some tips and tricks! Things I wish the people around me had said or done.

Disclaimer: We know infertility is hard to understand if you haven’t experienced it first hand. We also know it can be super awkward to talk about (sperm, vaginas and sex, oh my!). The fact that someone is telling you about their infertility struggles just means they need a trusting place to vent!

Let’s start with some things to do:

  • Listen! We need someone other than our husband/partner to talk to!
  • Listen well! There’s nothing worse than having to re-explain procedures and diagnoses over and over. Try to pay attention and actually understand what is going on with your friend’s journey.
  • Do some quick research. A quick Google search will give you more than enough information to fully understand your friend’s upcoming IUI, or HSG test. Your friend will be thrilled you spent the time to try and understand!
  • Unexpected friend mail is the best! Snacks, bubble bath, fun socks (for all those dates with the stirrups), even just a simple card! All are amazing and all are appreciated.
  • Just being aware. Certain social events and holidays are hard. Being understanding and aware of these triggers is huge. Don’t be hurt if your friend doesn’t come to your baby shower. She’s still so happy for you! She’s just sad for herself.

Here’s some things to try and avoid:

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  • Giving advice. Unless you’ve gone through the same things, try to just not to give advice. We know you’re trying to help, but it doesn’t help. Trust me, we’ve tried it all. Duh, temping sounds better than painful procedures and spending thousands of dollars. But that doesn’t work for everyone.
  • Telling other people about your friends struggles. Just don’t. That’s so rude and we aren’t in high school. Not everyone is as open about this as I personally am.
  • Comparing your 4 months of trying to her years of trying. Again, not the same, and not kind. It’s ok that you got pregnant easily. We wish we could too!
  • Complaining about your kids/messy house/lack of sleep. We are dying for those things.
  • Tell her about adopting. We know! This not only makes adopting look easy (which it isn’t, and it’s not for everyone), it also makes her feel guilty that by following her biological instinct to reproduce, she’s being selfish. You adopt! Adopting shouldn’t be the sole responsibility for infertile people.
  • If you become pregnant, don’t avoid her or purposely not tell her. That’s hurtful. Also telling her in person is a little much. I suggest a thoughtful text message explaining that you wanted to share, but wanted to be respectful. Again, if she’s a good friend, she’s going to be happy for you. Just sad for herself.

These me are just a few little tips and tricks I’ve experienced along the way. It’s hard to go through infertility and I’m sure it’s hard to know what to do or say to a person experiencing it! It’s even been hard at times for my mom and I. She was super fertile, and just doesn’t always know what to say. And that’s ok! Just having the support is really what we need most.

– Chelsea

 

Why Am I Writing For A Mom Blog?

This is a question I’ve been asking myself since joining BurritoBuzz, and I felt like this was a good first blog topic (with the exception of my Infertility Sucks guest blog post). I’m known as Mom to by lovely fur babies, Penny and Sadie, but I have no human children as of yet. I have no fancy baby products to review, and no mom advice that I would be able to share. I’ve never dealt with teething or sleep training. But you know what?

I matter, too!

This may just be my perception as an infertile woman trying to become a mom, but too often women who aren’t mothers are made to feel less than in our society. Whether women choose not to have children or are just having a tough time getting there, we are made to feel like we’re outsiders. And maybe we are. Who knows. But it sucks.

Confession time: I had to unfollow this very blog on my Instagram because I just couldn’t. It’s hard to have that constant reminder of something I so desperately want. I hope that someday soon, I will! Having to struggle for so long will make my husband and I better parents.

I am in no way trying to shame anyone in writing this. In my humble opinion, all women are amazing. We all are capable of showing motherly love, whether we are moms or not.

So I guess all this rambling is basically just a long version of this: you women out there who are struggling too, I got you! I know you’re out there and I feel your pain. I think it’s amazing that these girls saw that hole and asked me to fill it. I gladly will! I feel like we’ve gone through about 85% of testing and procedures that one can go through with infertility, so if anyone ever has any specific questions, please let me know! I plan on getting around to writing about them!

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My babies, Penny & Sadie

– Chelsea

Let’s get this out in the open…

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I’ve struggled with writing this post for more than half a year now. Wondering what words are right, fearing the emotions that would come with it, and being utterly ashamed of the way I felt, even if only briefly.

I struggled to get pregnant. TTC (trying to conceive, for anyone unfamiliar with the infertility world,) for 1.5 years. I had a hard pregnancy, where my OB thought my son might come early (too early.) My labor was straight from a dramatic scene you would see in Grey’s Anatomy, where my son’s heart rate was dropping low because he had the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck. And post partum? Sheesh. My son had bad reflux– the kind where they choke on their own spit up and you’re terrified that they could do it in the middle of the night and you can’t get to them quickly enough.

My first week home was fine. No major problems. Typical insomnia, but OH so much love for that tiny human of mine. I cried happy tears, because the outcome of my labor could have been vastly different. I came home with a happy, healthy little baby. I was beyond thankful.

After a week or so I noticed my hormones tanking. I was upset all the time. I was sleep deprived to the point of psychosis. I didn’t eat. I didn’t do anything. I was paralyzed with the crippling fear of keeping my son happy and healthy. He ate all the time, slept on a crazy schedule. He spit up more than he ate. I had lost interest in everything other than taking care of my guy.

I lost my identity completely.

I went from being this strong, independent woman… to being afraid to leave the house for fear of strangers with germs, car accidents, my child throwing a fit in the store, etc etc etc. There was so much unknown.

And while I can say that I never had thoughts of harming my child, I did sit rocking him with tears flowing (often on him,) wondering what I was doing wrong. Googling all hours of the night ways to help him sleep, and feel content and not be so refluxy. Untitled.png

I didn’t want company. I didn’t want to talk, hang, let other people hold him. I didn’t want their germs, their advice, their opinions. I didn’t want it.

My mom helped often, and I went to check-ups with my OB to make sure my hormones were getting balanced out. Otherwise, I’m not sure how I would have made it through.

Dealing with the baby blues and postpartum depression absolutely does not correlate with whether or not you love your child. Anyone that knows me can tell you that my world revolves around my little boy. I love him more than I could ever put into words. I would do anything for him. I need him all the time, and I miss him when I’m away from him for even a few minutes.

But PPD takes over your mind completely. Thoughts become irrational and finite, and looking past the temporary situation is near impossible. There is an immense struggle to adapt, because it all happens so quickly.

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Post partum depression is still a taboo topic. If you have a happy, healthy baby… then you should just be happy. But the brain doesn’t understand that. It just doesn’t. And while PPD usually subsides within a few months when hormones level out, sometimes it requires medication and lasts a much longer span of time (a really amazing crusader that has spoken out about her long battle with PPD is Hayden Panettiere. Also, Brooke Shields wrote a great book on her PPD.) Not saying that it takes a celebrity to realize that this is a problem, but I’m glad that a few celebrities are using their fame to open up about their struggles.)

Realizing that there is a problem is important. Letting people know that you need a support system is the best way through it. Go to your doctor and get a check-up. Talk to other women that have had PPD and the baby blues. Get out. Seriously… don’t worry about strangers at Target when you’re waltzing through in your yoga pants, mom bun, and your child is screaming. And baby wear— baby wearing helped me SO much. I felt like I gained some independence back when I started wearing my son around everywhere. It’s great bonding, and allows you to move around freely.

If you have a spouse/significant other, make sure you explain to them how you are feeling so that they know when and where they can help. Take all the help you can get. Make parenting a bonding experience, and try to avoid frustration in times of chaos. This is a learning experience for him as much as it is for you. My husband was a wonderful support. And while he wasn’t always as quick to run to our crying baby, he helped and he really stepped up when I asked for extra support with taking care of our newborn. I am forever thankful to him for being such a wonderful dad.

And lastly… don’t be ashamed. As moms we are entirely too hard on ourselves. We created and gave life, and we’re putting another human’s needs above our own. Most of us have insane hormonal imbalances after having our little ones, so we need to give ourselves some credit. Take care of yourself! You cannot serve from an empty vessel.

I’d also like to reach out to adoptive parents here, because it’s totally possible to have PPD as an adoptive parent! There are a ton of articles out there on this, but here is one that I liked.

If you have a severe form of PPD that leads to unusual anger/rage, I encourage you to get help as soon as possible. There are all kinds of agencies that specialize in getting women with PPD the help that they need.

PPD/Baby Blues lasted roughly 3 months for me. After which point, I noticed my hormones leveling back out. I was able to resume normal life activities, and being a mother finally felt natural. I have a happy one year old son who is my everything. “This too shall pass” was my happy motto, and I’m so glad that I was right. Life has never been better.

-Katie

Will She Remember?

As I near the end of my pregnancy (she’ll be here in 3 weeks!), I can’t help but be flooded with all sorts of emotions. I’m anxious about having another c-section and how I will recover with a newborn and a three and a half year old. I’m worried about getting PPD. Although I didn’t get it with my oldest, I never had anxiety like I do now until I had a panic attack when she was 9 months old so it worries me that I will get more than the normal baby blues this time around. I’m excited to meet this little goober who’s been kicking the shit out of me for months and who has been using my bladder as a comfy pillow. But the one thing that’s been getting me lately is guilt.

Over the past 9 months, my daughter’s life has changed. She’s gone from having a mommy that was always go-go-go and lots of fun to a mommy who has been too sick to play or to go outside and enjoy a beautiful day. She’s watched her mommy’s belly get ‘bigger and bigger’ in her words and watched mommy’s energy dwindle over the months. I’m worried how her new sister will impact her and how the relationship between the two of us will change. But I also wonder how much of these past 9 months she will remember..img_3561

Will she remember her summer being cut short because mommy was too nauseous to play outside in the heat?

Will she remember mommy laying on the couch instead of building a castle with her out of Legos?

Will she remember eating peanut butter sandwhiches several nights in a row because making anything else for dinner made mommy sick?

Will she remember all of the times mommy yelled and lost her temper because her hormones have been crazy?

Will she remember all of the TV and movies she watched so mommy could rest?

Will she remember mommy crying because she was so miserable from growing her little sister?

imageWill she remember the naps we would take together every day in
mommy’s bed?

Will she remember the laughs & giggles as we laid in mommy’s bed when we woke up from our naps?

Will she remember that she’ll always be my baby?

Will she remember that mommy will always, always be her bestfriend?

Will she remember that she is mommy’s first child and our bond can never be broken?

Will she remember that no matter what, mommy will always love her?

I’m sure it’s normal to feel guilty when having another child but I can’t help but be excited for my daughter as well. She’s going to be a big sister! A great one at that. So although I have a lot of guilt, I know that her new little sister will change her life for the better. I can’t wait to see them grow up together. To witness their fights over toys and the TV, the fights over clothes, who img_7001gets the car and of course boys when they’re older. Sisters are built in bestfriends and I couldn’t be happier to be able to give my daughter a friend for life. I hope she remembers that.

– Casey

My Birth Control Journey/Paraguard {Product review}

**I am definitely not a medical professional. This article is based on my personal experience. As always, please talk to your doctor before making any medical decisions for yourself**

“The best way to reduce the risk of unintended pregnancy among women who are sexually active is to use effective birth control correctly and consistently……..”

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BK#1 was conceived with combined oral contraceptive. That “typical failure rate of 9%”, yeah that is me. I took my pill daily, and had alarm set on my phone so even if I was busy, I couldn’t forget. She is a blessing, we adore her, and in no way is she an “oops”, “accident” or many other things I have heard. The pill simply didn’t work for me.

After she was born I went on a progestin only pill (because I was nursing BK#1) AND we used condoms!

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8 months later I found out I was pregnant with BK#2!! >>> Insert chaos here<<<<

Okay CDC I got you…I am the 9% and apparently in the 18% also?!?!

Our babies are our WORLD and we wouldn’t have it any other way!! Birth control, in general, just infuriates me and scares me. Why spend all this money, if planning your life for your children doesn’t work! God obviously wanted these babies, and they better become lawyers or the president or something.

For those who have a very hard time TTC, or can’t I am truly sorry. This post is not to make you feel bad, but to make woman aware of the stats, and the reality of birth control failure.

After BK#2 was born we made the decision that I would get an IUD. We were not ready to get anything permanent, and make the decision to be done having babies, but SOMETHING had to be done! My body is still recovering 6 months later. A pregnancy a year is not easy on the body, at all. Doctors say it takes a woman’s body 18 months to completely heal…..well BK#1 and BK#2 are only 17 months apart. So, even though I was scared of getting an IUD because of the risk factors, I chose to get one for my health, and sanity!

After months of talking with my  DH, doctor,  and midwife, we decided that I would get a Paragard.BurritoBuzz Paragard2

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Pros: Its more than 99% effective! I like those odds a little better. The string is a cotton string unlike most IUD’s. It is still stiff at first, but it does soften up after a few weeks. Even though it caused a little discomfort at first with my husband, after a week or so it was fine! It lasts for 10 years.  No more alarms going off to take my pill, no more counting days and checking the calendar to see if I missed a day, or if the pack is right, and no more taking pills!!!! YES PLEASE.

There are no hormones, because it is a copper device. >>> No weight gain, mood swings, etc. that come along with a hormone based birth control.

I have had no spotting, or periods since the initial spotting after insertion. I don’t know if that is due to still breastfeeding, or the IUD.

I had no “adjustment time”. No cramping or pain later. BUrritoBuzz Paragard.png

6 months after being pregnant, and I’m not pregnant!!!!!!

My insurance paid for it in FULL! We don’t have that great of insurance either, so be sure to contact them first!

Cons: It hurt like you wouldn’t believe getting it put in! I had two natural births , and I was crying while it was getting put in, I almost passed out, I puked after she was done, and I sat in the office for 30 minutes after it was done to calm down so I could leave.

There are a lot of horror stories about IUD implanting in the uterus etc., but never did I read anything about how I felt that day.

When you get it put in after birth you have to wait a month or so. I scheduled my insertion promptly after delivery, and my midwife and OBGYN insured me that it would be super easy to insert, because of just delivering a huge baby.

IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN EASY FOR THEM!

Honestly, I felt bad for my doctor. I was a mess, but I couldn’t help it! When they dilated my cervix and inserted it I could have swore she was trying to rip out my uterus.

I suggest asking to be numbed, and some valium if you are getting it!

There are the horror stories of IUDs, but that comes with anything. There are even  horror stories for the pill. Its really how you take care of yourself, and making sure you go for your regular checks, and are checking yourself!

The pain of insertion is the only bad thing I have to say about Paragard!

Would I do it again?  Maybe? If they could drug me up, or knock me out! I think its worth it for 10 years.

Be sure to talk about all of your options with your doctor, and educate yourself before putting anything into your body! I hope my experiences can help you!!

~Amanda~

 

 

 

 

I have a Large Family: Stop the Judgement!

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Guest Blogger Kelsey Burrows, on her Family and Judgments Surrounding it:

Hi, my name is Kelsey.

I’m twenty-nine years old and I’m a mom. I am a mom of five living, breathing, beautiful monsters. They leave their clothes on the floor, and toothpaste spit in the sink. They forget to turn off lights, or just don’t care about the electric bill. They leave messes just about everywhere they go, and generally don’t pick them up without being asked at least twice. They fight with each other constantly, over practically nothing. I rarely get to sit down and eat a meal with them because I’m too busy helping the younger ones get their plates, cutting up their meat, pouring drinks, cleaning up spills, and getting out some random condiment that I inadvertently forgot. By the time I get done shoveling food down my throat, they’re all done and I’m reminding them to clean up their plates, finish homework, get ready for volleyball or soccer, or whatever extracurricular activity is going on. It’s generally pure chaos in my house from dinner until bedtime. At the end of the day, I wonder how I managed to survive their waking hours. Let’s not even start on the damage they do to the bank account with all their wants, and “needs”, and actual necessities. That alone can drive a person over the edge.

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Kelsey with 5 of her Children

Looking back fifteen years ago, if you would have told me that I would have five kids and be divorced by the time I was thirty, I’d have looked at you like you were out of your mind. I wanted to go to college, maybe get married, travel a little, and then maybe settle down and have a baby or two. But yet, this is my life. I rarely go into public with all five of my kids without getting some kind of look insinuating that I am a crazy person. But guess what? I am a crazy person. My kids drive me to the brink of insanity, multiple times a day. It’s amazing to me that I have any hair left on my head. So often in a day, I’m frustrated enough that I could probably pull it out without a second thought. You haven’t lived life until you’re trying to cook dinner while a whiny two year old asks for a fruit snack, and his seven and eight year old sisters fight over whose turn on the computer it is. And then, my favorite is the “MOM! He just shot me in the eye with a Nerf dart!”. Yes, this is my life.

Occasionally though, there are times when we go out in public when my kids behave. Quite honestly, they behave most of the time when we have to go places. That’s not to say that one or two of them don’t cop an attitude over wanting candy or to look in the toy aisles, but they’re generally good kids. While we’re at it, my kids are pretty awesome. They’re smart, they’re caring, they’re mostly hilarious. I have some of the best times with them, even if it can be a little stressful. So when you see me with my kids while I’m out in public with that look of pity in your eyes, I’m generally looking at you like you’ve lost your mind. You’re judging me, someone you don’t even know, because of how many kids I have? Don’t you have anything better to do with your life? Both of my grandparents come from families where they had several siblings, and by several, I mean upwards of five. It only seems natural that I have a large family too. Some days, I question my life choices. Most days though, I thank God that He has blessed me with these five kids who are daily reminders of why I’m here on earth.

I’ve been asked so many times, “Are all these kids yours?”, while I’m grocery shopping. Let me ask you, do you routinely suggest that your kids bring their friends along to run your errands? I don’t either. So yes, to my knowledge, all these kids I have with me while shopping the aisles of Walmart are in fact my children. The sandy blonde hair and fair complexion doesn’t give it away I guess. I understand that your questions are not necessarily intended to be judgmental or rude. Your questions, though, cause me to question my worth as a parent. Is there a reason you’re asking me if all these kids are mine? Why did you ask if I’m planning on having more? Should I not? Am I not a good enough parent to have five kids? What if I want six, or seven kids? Surely you’d really judge me then.

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Well actually, I don’t have five kids. I have six. I gave birth to an angel baby in June, at only twenty-nine weeks pregnant. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think of her. I wonder what her smile would have looked like, or if she would have had any hair or teeth yet. I think about what an awesome set of older siblings she would have had. She was taken from me before I even got to hear her cry. It was a devastating blow, one that I feel the effects of everyday. When you ask someone if they’re done having kids, or jokingly ask if they know how babies are made, be sensitive. There are people like me out there who thought their families were complete, and then a surprise came along that rocked their world. People like me, who fell in love with the baby they were carrying inside them. People who dreamed about what their baby would look like, sound like, what their personality would be like. Would they cry 24/7 and make me want to smack my head against a wall in frustration? I’d give anything to be able to be up all night with a crying seven month old right now.

I no longer feel like my family is complete. My heart grew to accommodate that sixth little being, and now there is a void where her tiny little smile should be. So while my five kids are sometimes brats, they’re sometimes mouthy, and they fight all the time, they are here with me. I can hold them close, and kiss them goodnight, and tell them I love them whenever I so choose. It isn’t right to look at someone and make assumptions about their lives based on the number of kids they have. If you only have one child by choice, good for you. You knew your family was complete. If you have two kids, or ten kids, good for you. If you chose not to have kids at all, I understand that too. But, don’t judge other people because of their choices in procreation. Some of us have experienced losses greater than what you could ever imagine. Those losses sometimes effect our choices.

I hear, “Wow, you really have your hands full”, at some point during almost every outing with my kids. Most of the time, I just ignore it. Sometimes people jokingly ask me if I know how babies are made, or if I’m planning on having more. I love my kids. You don’t have to, because they aren’t your kids. So yes, all these kids are mine. Yes, I’m a little crazy. Yes, I’d love to have another baby. Yes, I know how that happens. Yes, I know my hands are full, but my heart is too. The love you feel from a child is unlike any other love you will experience in your life. I wouldn’t trade that for anything in the world.

-Kelsey

Update: Nexplanon Review

I’ve always been an advocate of women taking charge of their own bodies, which includes deciding when you want to become pregnant. For many years I was on an estrogen pill. After some time, I went on the mini-pill (progesterone) and thought it worked just fine. Minimal side-effects.
After having my LO, my brain was scattered. I knew that taking a pill every day was going to be more difficult. After doing some research, I elected to have Nexplanon put in. Nexplanon is a small, flexible rod inserted in the inside of your underarm by a healthcare professional. It is 99% effective, and has many of the same possible side-effects of a typical combination pill. The rod is good for 3 years, and most insurance companies cover the expensive cost (which ranges from $700-$900 for the rod, and $300 for each minor surgery.)
Insertion of the Nexplanon was quick, and mostly painless. My physician’s assistant numbed the area, and inserted Nexplanon with a small instrument. She then felt to make sure it was in the proper location, and bandaged it up. There was some soreness, and it bruised pretty badly.FullSizeRender

I expected to have some irregular bleeding, but that ended up being a huge understatement. I had irregular and frequent bleeding nearly every day for about 4 months, when I finally elected to have the rod removed. After talking with a nurse practitioner, she advised that this happens with about 1 in 5 that have the Nexplanon put in. Crazy. So, not only was I dealing with insane postpartum hormones, but then this evil birth control rod of death just compounded everything tenfold.

The removal of the Nexplanon was bad. I mean, really bad. First, my nurse practitioner almost cut into my arm without numbing it. In reality, I would have been fine. I just gave birth to a human. But HELLO, let’s not. A nurse quickly stopped her, and she promptly numbed the area. Nexplanon had encapsulated in my arm, so she had to cut way more than what is typical, and it took nearly a half hour. I almost needed stitches (and in retrospect, probably should have had a few.) It’s been several months since the removal now, and I have a scar and some soreness in that spot still.

A quick Google search results in plenty of unhappy consumers that also elected to have Nexplanon removed.

I happily rejoined the birth control pill ranks. 
**UPDATE: it’s been almost half a year since I had the Nexplanon removed. I have a half inch scar, raised above the skin, as well as fairly painful scar tissue. Hoping both the scar and pain will fade, but it really may take some time.**

-Katie

One and Done

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It is not okay to guilt people into having children ever. Under no circumstance is it acceptable to make a person feel like a lesser person for having no children, a lot of children, a few children, or in my case… one child.

One, single child.

One amazing, beautiful child.

He is not “just one.” He is not EVER to have the describing characteristic of being one of those only children.

He is our one and only. Our entire world, in one tiny human.

Making the decision to have children is very personal. Perhaps the most personal decision you will ever make as a couple. To anyone that elects to have no children, I commend you on fully knowing what you want in life.

My husband and I decided to start trying to have a baby a few years back. I hoped that I would have a few months to ease into the idea of possibly being a mother, but was in no way prepared for the year and a half it took us to actually get pregnant. It wasn’t easy. (You can read more about my infertility struggle here.) I was in denial that we might not have children. I didn’t want to see doctors, and flat out didn’t want to deal with the fact that we might need some intervention (thankfully, though we waited some time, we ended up pregnant on Vitex.)

Those that knew we had been trying to get pregnant were few. The pressure to have a child when people know you are trying to get pregnant only increases the stress (at least it did for me.) Month after month of saying “no, not yet” really wears on you. And the people that say things like “just relax and it’ll happen” or “it’ll happen when it’s supposed to”… not helpful. Actually really frustrating. Just remember, you don’t know who is fighting a silent battle– who is trying to get pregnant, who is unable to get pregnant, who has lost angel babies. You don’t know.

So, assuming to understand an individual’s reproductive abilities or personal choices is something that has to stop. It has to. I’m guilty– and as much as we struggled, I’ve definitely asked friends if they think children are in their future. I try hard not to now, because I know how painful the question can be.

So there’s a high probability that my husband and I are one and done. Both by choice, and by reproductive ability. Why? 

  1. We know that we can financially provide for our one child. The rising cost of health care, education, housing, food, etc. is sometimes difficult to stomach. I want to leave him better off– not just financially, but with more opportunity. I don’t plan on having a spoiled single child, but I do fully plan on giving him every opportunity I  can.
  2. We had a hard time having one child. I’m content with one. More than content, I’m beaming that we have a healthy child. So, I’d prefer not to think we might be able to have a second to only be disappointed and unable.
  3. I’m not worried about my son’s social ability as a single child. He has cousins close in age,  and we fully plan on giving him plenty of social opportunities.
  4. We had a very difficult labor and delivery. My son had his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck, and we are lucky he is here. You can read about that story here. My postpartum weeks were also marked with some post partum blues (those hormones… whoosh!)

Things that people with single children don’t want to hear?

  1. Aren’t you afraid of him being alone when you and your husband pass away some day? Answer: No. Having siblings doesn’t mean you will be close with your siblings. Financially? I hope to plan for any financial situation so that he isn’t left with all kinds of loose ends to tie up. I know that he’ll have other family, friends, and hopefully a family of his own someday.
  2. Won’t he be spoiled? Answer: I plan on teaching him the value of a dollar and how to work hard for what he wants. That being said, money can buy opportunity, and if I can help him here and there with things such as schooling, I will.
  3. THE WORST: What if your child passes away? Then you have no children. Answer: This question is ridiculous, so please don’t ever ask it. Having other children doesn’t mean you won’t miss your child that has passed away just as much. It doesn’t. You don’t have children to be “backup children” in case something happens. I treasure each day with my son, and that will never change.

So here’s the thing: treat everyone as if you don’t know what their story is. Just simply not asking unless the person on the receiving end brings it up or wants to talk about it. Listen to them. Try to be understanding. Step into their shoes. Children are a beautiful, amazing gift. Children aren’t for everyone. And, children aren’t always easy to have. Simple understanding can bring us a long way.

-Katie

My Picky Toddler

Just when I thought breastfeeding was one of the most challenging things I would do as a parent, I was wrong again. Ever since our little girl was around 18 months old, she has become one of those picky toddlers I never in a million years thought she would be. As an infant, I nursed and bottle fed her breast milk until she was around 15 months old. I started solid foods with her around 5 months and she was always so great at everything! I never had trouble with transitioning her from breast to bottle. She loved oatmeal cereal, veggies, fruits, combinations – you name it, she ate it. I used to love making baby food for her because she would try everything. She made it fun. I didn’t care if she made a mess because she seemed to enjoy it! I remember telling other parents how awesome of an eater she was and being so proud. I thought I was doing everything right.

And then it was as if a switch had been flipped. It’s hard to even pinpoint exactly when it happened because we just kept saying, “It’s a phase.” Or, “maybe she will eat better the next time.” That “phase” lasted a few days, then a few weeks and months, and now here we are, a year later. She is still that picky toddler and I have no idea why. Now, we’re left feeling like one of the worst sets of parents in the world. It’s so frustrating.

Are we really doing it all wrong?

She has never been a child that tells us when she is hungry. She doesn’t snack or eat junk food and only drinks milk and water. That’s okay, right? We try to make sure she eats a variety of foods, covers all of her food groups, but some days after an hour in the high chair for a meal, it just has to be enough. I feel like she has just two types of food most days – fruits and noodles. The only vegetables she eats consistently are pickles and olives. Does that count? She doesn’t fight with us when it comes time to eat. She sits in her high chair as content as can be and just doesn’t eat much. Instead, she will do just about anything else except eat.

After we finally settled with the fact that the “phase” we were in with our picky toddler wasn’t going to end anytime soon, it was time to just deal and accept it. We had to embrace it. We are always offering her different foods, but also trying not to overwhelm her with options.  We try to compromise with her sometimes. We’ll say, “If you eat three greens beans, Mommy will give you some popcorn.” Some days she buys it. We have just learned to go with it and not to stress about it. I have full faith that she will eat if she is hungry. I also believe that if we make a big ordeal of her not eating, she will probably eat even less.

We had to accept that it’s not our fault and we aren’t doing anything wrong. We had to stop beating ourselves up about it. Kids are kids. Some kids are great eaters and some kids aren’t. Just because she eats like a bird now, doesn’t mean she won’t grow up to be a lover of all types of food later in life. She’s a kid. They are unpredictable little beings. She might start to enjoy food tomorrow, maybe not, but we will know that we did the best we could and she will still be a happy, healthy little girl either way!

Below is an awesome picture from NewBornBabyZone.com that has some helpful food ideas for our kiddos at each age group.

 Healthy Foods That Babies Like Most (Infographic)

-Megan

Who Doesn’t Love Grocery Shopping?!

I never knew food was so expensive until I became the SAHM who takes care of all groceries. (I also never knew packing lunches was the most miserable “mom” task ever).

We have a family of 5. I shop only at  big name stores (Publix and Kroger) and we have a $500/month grocery budget. If we break that down, that is $100/person…it seems like a lot of money but to some it will seem impossible. However,  I stay at or under my given budget most of the time. Have there been months where I have spent $800 on food? Absolutely. But there has also been months where we’re barely touching $350. But trust me, if I can do it, you can do it.

The question is how?

  • Planning-both trips and meals

I typically spend Sunday’s planning my meals for the week (Yes, I grocery shop every week). While I’m planning my meals, I also write my grocery list. Going to the store without a list is asking for trouble. You’ll most likely wind up in the candy aisle trying to decide which chocolate wrapper will be quieter when you’re trying to sneak it from your children. But no really, a list is necessary. I don’t make a fancy list with aisle numbers on where everything is but I do try to keep it organized and grouped together by food group. Also, there is an amazing app Grocery IQ that allows you to input your grocery list either via typing, barcode scanning, or voice. The app also lets you put in the quantity you need, and the aisle category it in is. It also keeps a history of past items so if you’re like me and buy most of the same stuff every month, it saves you a little bit of time. Best perk of them all, it’s free!

Now back to the meal planning, I only plan dinners. Breakfasts are usually cereal or something quick and easy for the kids before school. Lunches are typical as well so it’s easy. A typical week in our house goes something along the lines of cook, cook, leftovers, cook, out to eat, cook, cook. I also plan quick, easy (healthy) meals that I know my kids will eat. Meatloaf, homemade pizza, tacos, quiche, spaghetti, chicken fajitas, sausage and rice, and chicken fried rice are just some of our daily meals.

  • Skip the prepackaged items

Just because it’s prepackaged doesn’t mean it’s the best way to go. Companies typically hike up their prices (and preservatives) for prepackaged food because it’s convenient. People pay for convenience. When you break it down, you can roughly get more than twice as much product for generally the same price and it’s typically healthier.

For example, you can buy a box of (4) Jimmy Dean breakfast sandwiches for $5.44  -or- you can buy (12) English muffins for $2.28, (12) eggs for $1.98, and (12) sausage patties for $3.96. So for $8.92, you can get 12 sandwiches (that freeze and defrost perfectly)

  • Stock up on non-perishables

Especially when they’re on sale! I have enough cans of green beans in my house to survive the end of the world…twice. Seriously, there is a lot. If something is on sale, and it won’t go bad, save yourself some money (and time) and buy it. I recently just purchased 5 containers of juice as they were on sale from $3.98 to $2.00. So not only did I save myself almost $10, I saved time on shopping trips because I have juice for at least 4 weeks. Most items that you keep in your pantry, won’t go bad for quite sometime as long as they’re closed and sealed properly.

  • Buy in Bulk when practical

We have a Sams Club Membership and it’s fantastic. I typically buy bulk items there. It is definitely worth the money we spend on the membership and keep an eye out because sometimes they do free memberships or passes.

Buying in bulk is initially more expensive. Calculating it out however is more cost effective and beneficial. We typically buy non-perishables or foods we go through quickly from Sams. Buying in bulk again helps save time and money.

Believe it or not, it is cheaper to buy (1) 3lb container or peanut butter than it would be to buy the equivalent in single jars.

  • Coupons

I was the crazy coupon lady for a little while. I was getting shampoo and conditioner for $.33, toilet paper for $.10 and free toothpaste. It was fantastic! I then realized that companies rarely put out coupons for everyday food items. They’re typically for paper goods. Sure, you can find some ones for food and absolutely use the ones you find. Because essentially, cents leads to dollars.

Saving $.35 on cottage cheese two times per month is a yearly savings of $8.40…that’s almost enough to make homemade breakfast sandwiches!

I know grocery shopping isn’t the most fun thing in the world, but it’s a necessity. With a few tips and tricks you can make it almost, almost pain free.

-Kirstyn

Do as I say, not as I do?

imageThere’s this little fairytale story we all play in our minds when we find out we’re going to be parents. Our child will be so well-behaved, advanced at everything, a genius in school, never get involved in the “wrong crowd,” lead a happy, respectful, compassionate, well-adjusted life. It’s all going to play out perfectly because naturally, you’ll be the perfect parent, of course.

And then the child is born and all the parenting books go out the window and you’re desperately praying for just 3 consecutive hours of sleep. You’re in survival mode for those first few months and it is hard, but it’s rewarding too. You did it. You made a person.

If there was ever a time in my life that I woke up one day and said “wow, I need to get it together” it was after that survival phase was over. You start to crawl out of the dark like you’ve been in hibernation for a few months and the light is creeping in on the life you’ve been leading. You’ve been getting (a little) more sleep and you have time for things other than just the eat, sleep, diaper, repeat routine. And all of a sudden it hit me, whoa. I am a parent now. Not just a caretaker or a milk-producing zombie, but an actual parent. It was a terrifying realization.

And it really wasn’t even the act of parenting that terrified me, it was the fact that I was now in charge. I was the “example.” I found myself taking a big step back to look in the mirror and say, “is this what I want my child to become?”

I’ve never touched a drug in my life, I’ve never been to jail, I graduated college and I found an amazing husband. Does that make me a good person? It didn’t matter. What I realized was that I needed to reevaluate was who I was and why I was that way and why I wanted my child to turn out anything like me. If I expect to raise my child with certain standards and values, was I in fact leading a life evident of those standards?

I want my child to have a deep faith– am I living that faith out everyday?
I want my child to be respectful of other people- how much have I gossiped lately?
What is the crap playing on my radio?
What is the crap playing on my television?
Have I picked up a book recently?
Did I actually sit at the dinner table, put my phone away and engage in actual conversation with my family?
Am I taking care of my body?
Am I taking care of my marriage?
Am I a good daughter, sister, friend?

So I’ve been working. Working on being a better friend, a more encouraging spouse, becoming more health-conscious, not using choice words for the driver that cut me off, turning off the tv and having dance parties with my LO.

I was catching up on some reading and drinking my coffee the other morning when I looked over to see this……..image

It’s shocking how much they take in and notice at such a young age. You are your child’s first example. You can set the tone for how they take in their surroundings, how they react to situations and how they control their emotions. Every child will throw a tantrum or say something mean to a friend. But by being a positive example, just with our own lives, not even directed toward them, will speak volumes.

We say it over and over again at BurritoBuzz that you can’t properly care for your child if you aren’t taking care of yourself. I’m willing to say that you can’t properly raise your child if imageyou aren’t leading the way by example.

I am by no means perfect. I don’t even aim to be perfect. My child needs to see failures taken in stride, mistakes made and apologies given. Parenting is hard. But I am going to strive to set the example that I want my child to mimic. Whether it’s a simple as reading a book and drinking a cup of coffee, or how I handle an argument with my spouse, I don’t ever want to be a “do as I say, not as I do” kind of parent.

-Chelsea

Product Review: Mirena

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**I am most definitely not a medical professional. This article is based on my personal experiences. As always, please talk to your doctor before making any medical decisions for yourself**

I have had a lot, a LOT of issues with BC. I have tried several different brands and forms with mostly negative results. Before I was married and interested in having children, I wanted a BC that treated strong cramps and heavy, long-lasting cycles. The types of BC I tried before TTC include:

  • Yaz– This daily pill made me feel like my heart was racing and have spells of lightheadedness at random times (the pill was later found to cause severe blood clots and actually does not treat any symptoms of PMS like it claimed).
  • Lo Loestrine Fe– Also a daily pill. This did not treat my heavy, long-lasting cycle and painful cramps.

At this point, my gyno decided I need a constant stream of hormones with no placebo time (like many pills have) So then I tried..

  • Ortho Evra– This is a patch that you place on your waistline, back or rear. It was disgusting. It was like a band aid you wore for one week and then replaced. It left a nasty ring of stickiness (like a band aid) and skin irritation wherever I placed it. It also would come off occasionally in the shower, which left me in constant fear that I was not being protected. I
  • NuvaRing– This is a vaginal ring you replace yourself after 3 weeks in and one week off. This was by far, the worst of all BC I tried. It slipped out constantly and was very gross to put back in myself. But worst of all, it gave me a SEVERE vaginal infection that took two drs (one of which was a urogynocologist) to diagnose and treat. Horrible. Just horrible.

After that horrendous experience, I just dealt with my discomfort and we used the trusty ol’ condom until we were TTC. So after the birth of my LO, I was extremely hesitant to go back on BC but knew it was necessary because I conceived very, very easily and we were certainly not ready for another LO. My gyno suggested Mirena.

Mirena is an intra-uterine device that can stay in for up to 5 years. It slowly releases low levels of progestin into the uterus. The device is inserted by your gyno and small strings are left hanging that are supposed to allow you to check and make sure it is still correctly in place. This BC is recommended for women that have had a child.

imagePROS: When I had mine inserted, my gyno said to me, “pick a four letter word to say now because you’re going to need it when I put it in.” I honestly had to ask her if she was done because I felt nothing other than the usual discomfort of her messing around in that area. It didn’t hurt me in the slightest. I love not having to worry about taking a pill everyday. I have heard some people say that they can feel the strings that are left hanging. I have never had any discomfort. I’ve had the device in for over a year now and (now) I can say that my cycles are short and very light. I still have some cramping, but nothing like I’ve experienced in the past.

CONS: I bled. I bled every single day for almost 5 months. I’m talking several heavy flow pads per day. Mind you, I had a C-section. So this was strictly related to the BC, not from giving birth (I had no bleeding in the 6 weeks after giving birth and before getting Mirena). It was horrible. My poor DH. Not only was my last trimester a painful nightmare, I finally have the baby and we still can’t be intimate because I’m disgusting. Sexy.

It finally got so bad that I was concerned it was not inserted correctly, so I went back to my gyno. She did a full exam and said it was inserted correctly and to just hang in there. My symptoms were not uncommon and if I held out for one more month, it could go away. And she was right. A few weeks after that, my bleeding subsided and I finally began to have a recognizable cycle again. Still, it was quite the ordeal.

In the relatively near future, my DH and I will be TTC again. I am planning an extensive article series on TTC and (God willing) my subsequent pregnancy. I do have a fear of having difficulty conceiving after removing my Mirena. DrugWatch.com states that 80% of women can successfully conceive within one year of removal. Fingers crossed.

I hope my experiences can help you make a better choice on what is right for your body. I can’t say I am a strong proponent of BC after my dreadful experiences, however, it’s a necessary evil in my personal opinion. I’m constantly doing research on what is safest and best for my body. I strongly encourage every woman do the same. Meanwhile, I’ll be continuing my earnest prayers for the development of the male BC pill… *please Jesus, please*

-Chelsea