My client success interview with fertility coach Zahra Haji

Back in May, my fertility coach Zahra Haji interviewed me about the work we had done together through her Becoming the Vessel for IVF Success program.

Last night, I decided to listen to it.

This interview reminds me of how much I’ve learned and grown throughout our fertility journey. I think it’s so important to reflect on those things as you prepare for the new year.

When it first went live, I never shared it. Here it is:

I hope my story gives you some hope and inspiration. ❤

Note: If you are looking for more info on the Moon Goddess or Becoming the Vessel for IVF Success programs, please contact Zahra directly.  I did not receive any compensation for talking about my success with her programs. I share my story because I truly believe that focusing on mind-body health significantly improved our odds of conception via IVF. 

My initiation into breastfeeding without a cover

I did it! I breastfed Wyatt around my husband’s family without a cover.

We started out on Christmas Eve with the cover on. Wyatt was HANGRY and viciously swiped at the cover to move it off his face. I got frustrated that he was frustrated, so I took it off…

No one gasped. No one looked shocked. 

A few people got up a left the room, but that may have just been coincidence. 

Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who encouraged me to try the double shirt approach.

I also draped a receiving blanket over my boob a bit to give more coverage without covering Wyatt himself.

SUCCESS!

I continued to use this method on Christmas Day and Boxing Day at each family gathering. Yesterday, I even found my brother-in-law was comfortable enough to have a conversation with me while I fed Wyatt. Next time I see him, I hope to personally thank him for being “normal” with me.

In the end, my anxiety around how people would react was worse than their actual reaction. Lesson learned: just go for it next time. 

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Merry Christmas!

Wow. What a year it has been.

If you had asked me a year ago if I imagined us celebrating our first Christmas with our child, I would have hoped so, but I never would have been able to predict just how great it truly is.

Over the past few weeks, I was struggling with Christmas. My family won’t get to share in Wyatt’s First Christmas with us. I was stuck in a cycle of nostalgic longing; reminiscing on the traditions from my own childhood. Earlier this week, I decided to make the most of it and find a way to add some magic to this Christmas.

Wyatt is too young to understand all of the festivities, but we still made some great memories.

From our family to yours, Merry Christmas. May all your dreams come true this year. XO ❤

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2 months old

My grumpy little elf is officially 2 months old. At his doctors appointment on Tuesday, he weighed 12.87 lbs and was 24 inches long. He’s definitely going to be tall like his Daddy.

We attempted to take 2 month old photos this morning. Wyatt was not impressed.

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I understand now why people say to cherish each moment. Wyatt is growing and learning so much – especially over the past two weeks.

He loves playing on his activity mat (not so much when Bella licks his face though). He gets super excited when Dad gets home each night. He coos, giggles, smiles and talks to us in his own language all the time. He also loves bath time and recently started flailing his arms and kicking his legs to make splashes.

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Every night before bed, Mike has story time with Wyatt. We go to bed sometime between 10:30-11:30pm. He wakes up to feed between 2-5 am and then again around 7-8am. Sometimes we even go back to bed until 9-10am. But, don’t tell Mike that! 

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His favourite place to nap is on my chest… which means many afternoons glued to the recliner chair by the fire. I can’t complain though. 🙂 He normally isn’t grumpy, but we’ve had a few days lately where I think he’s got a case of the 8 week olds. He fights taking a nap and cries a bit as he gives in to the slumber. Wyatt used to need the boob to fall asleep, but he’s had 2 naps without it lately. I’m super sad about that. 😦 It’s shocking how much their progress makes your heart grow and hurt at the same time.

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He’s eating well. We are still exclusively breastfeeding. I did use the cover at my in-laws tonight, but… Wyatt got fussy during one feeding, so I actually took the cover off. I did the 2-shirt method, and then used a blanket to cover while I put my boob back in my shirt. Progress! 

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Clothing diapering is going very well. He still prefers the cloth over disposables. It’s surprising how much more he freaks out when he pees in a disposable. I want him to be comfortable, so today we did our first major outing in just cloth. It really wasn’t a hassle at all. I just brought a wet bag, a few inserts and 2 Flip covers. We are still using a combo of Flip covers and inserts, Bummis covers and inserts, Bum Genius 4.0s/Freetimes/Elementals. He’s starting to fit better now into the Bum Genius style. I do prefer snaps over velcro, so I’m contemplating reselling the velcro to invest in a few more snaps. I also just picked up an AMP to see how we like that brand. It’s a cute elephant print. And now I realize how cloth diapering gets addictive. You start coordinating with outfits and it’s all over! 

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As for baby wearing, I’m using the Ergo around the house. I find it works ok. It’s quick to put on, but it’s a bit awkward. I would really like to try out a few different kinds of wraps/carriers, so I’m going to join our local Babywearing club’s lending library.

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Other than that, life is good. I absolutely love being a Mom. Yes, some days can be more challenging than others, but when he grabs my hand, looks up at me and smiles, my heart melts. He is so totally worth it.

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I still remember

I changed my Facebook profile photo today. I got new glasses, so most people will assume that’s the reason why.

But really,  I changed it because I couldn’t bear to think that it was hurting someone else.

You see I’m an admin on our local infertility support Facebook group. A few weeks ago,  I changed my photo to one of Wyatt and I. In the moment, it seemed like the right thing to do. I was having a good hair day and a cuddle with my son.

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Since then, I cringe every time I post in the group and see my little profile icon with that image of me as a mother. I know there are so many other women in that group longing for what I have.

I just can’t do it. I can’t flaunt my transition beyond infertility even if some think my story may inspire and give hope. I know all too well that photos like that poke at the emptiness in your heart when you are longing for your own baby to cuddle.

I love my son beyond words, but that doesn’t take away the past. I know how much it used to hurt, how much it can still hurt reflecting back on where we’ve been and how far we’ve come. I know exactly how it feels for every woman in that group still waiting for their babies. And I don’t want to inflict any more suffering on them… even if a profile photo is such a subtle gesture.

For now, I’ll limit my profile photo to be a solo shot of me.  I’ll use my cover photo for the family or baby pics as it’s not so in your face.

And I’ll keep hoping and praying that each and every one of those women find joy and happiness no matter where their journey leads them. ❤

Why do I suddenly feel the urge to burn my bra?

I have a secret longing to be one of those wild and free women who are perfectly comfortable with nursing uncovered in public.

I nurse uncovered at home (yes, even in front of my mother-in-law. Her squirming is usually way more noticeable than she realizes). I nurse uncovered at the homes of friends who are breastfeeding friendly. I nurse uncovered at doctor’s appointments. I’ve even nursed Wyatt uncovered in my car in front row of the parking lot at a London Drugs – and the back seat of my husband’s truck multiple times.

But, I have yet to just ”whip it out” in a public place full of potentially staring gazes like a coffee shop, restaurant or the food court at a shopping mall.

Tonight, we had a large family supper at a Chinese buffet restaurant. Wyatt was perched on a chair beside my husband sleeping in his car seat. When he woke, he simply squirmed and gave me ”the look”.  I just assume that every breastfeeding Momma knows what that look is. My Wyatt gets these soft eyes, opens his mouth and gently moves his tongue to the front of his mouth. Perhaps it’s the same with bottle fed babies?  I insisted that I could feed him there. I had my hooter hider in the diaper bag,  but Mike said he was fine. Mike gave Wyatt his soothie and it tied him over until we left.

I realized this moment felt like a loss to me. Another opportunity to bare it all had passed me by. Honestly, I probably would have still covered as my husband keeps saying he doesn’t want me completely uncovered in front of his family. But, I was potentially one step closer to nursing in public… And one step closer to nursing UNCOVERED in public.

I’ve had large breasts for as long as I can remember (meaning Grade 3-4 when I was the only girl wearing a training bra). I can’t wear a simple V neck tshirt without cleavage. This actually works to my benefit for breastfeeding as the two-shirt approach is a typical staple of my wardrobe.

During my teens and early 20s, I embraced my generous bra size and used them to my advantage (in retrospect, probably disadvantage as I needed more self respect and self love but that’s a whole other topic…). Cleavage was my friend especially if I was headed out for a night at the bar. My gigantic tits got me the attention I wanted at that time. As I grew up and my career progressed,  I covered up more and more. The concept of that cleavage peaking out made me feel slutty. I wanted to be taken seriously, and for a natural blonde with big breasts, that meant keeping the ta-tas hidden. It was a never-ending love/hate relationship.

Even though cleavage has been my friend, I was always insecure about my bare boobs. Just because they looked appealing to the eye when nicely propped up in a halter top didn’t mean that they would have the same effect when naked. In the past 8 weeks, the number of people who have seen my bare breasts has exponentially increased –  even if it is just select friends and family.

When I began breastfeeding, I lost all insecurity around the shape and size of my boobs. It doesn’t matter how big they are or what my nipples look like. What matters is that they are doing a damn good job of feeding my son!  My breasts are no longer merely an overly sexualized part of my body. For the first time in my life,  I feel like my breasts serve their true purpose. I’m proud of the nourishment they provide to my baby. And I couldn’t be happier. I love my breasts. They finally bring me joy.

I want to be comfortable breastfeeding uncovered in public because I want to step out from the girl I was before into the woman – the mother – I am now. Our journey to bring our son into this world is so much deeper than a moment of conception.  It’s a story of acceptance and a big part of that is me accepting myself – big boobs and all!

Mothering is an act of love. As long as the child is thriving, no judgement should be made. I believe woman should be able to feed her child from a breast – covered or uncovered – or from a bottle. The choice is hers, not that of some stuffy old man who has no problem gawking when Momma’s out for a night on the town, but all of a sudden has issues when a tiny human is latched to eat? Come on now…

Besides, my son hates being covered when eating. I want him to know that his Momma loved him enough to do whatever she could to make him as comfortable as he could be…and if that means breastfeeding uncovered in public,  I vow I will do it!

I’m still searching for my tribe. I’ve got a few Mommy friends who breastfeed,  but I want to find my vibe with others who can help me break out of my shell of conformity and into the freedom of motherhood that I’ve worked so hard to get to.

Boobies unite (.)(.)

Learning to slow down

It’s 2:07pm. Wyatt just fell asleep on me… Again!

I’m done with attempting to move him to his bassinet. Why bother when he wakes 5 minutes later crying for me?

I’m embracing that my little man is trying to teach his Momma to appreciate the downtime; to enjoy the stillness.

We spent 4 busy years trying to bring him into this world. Running from appointment to appointment. Working extra hard to make extra money to pay for the treatments, the appointments, the supplements, the gazillion pregnancy tests…

I deserve the break.

Who can really complain if every afternoon entails a cozy nap by the fireplace with Wyatt snuggled into my chest?

I’ve already folded 3 loads of laundry, put another load of diapers in the wash, gone to an acupuncture appointment and managed to eat breakfast and lunch today. That’s enough.

Now is the time to be still, to feel the love and enjoy the comfort.

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Unsolicited parenting advice

Wowzers. It turns out that people offering parenting advice is JUST AS ANNOYING as the advice we received when trying to conceive.

I’ve received the following comments:

  • Just let him cry it out! He needs to develop his lungs. My baby is 7 weeks old. He has a set of needs that we fulfil – comfort being one of them. There is no reason for him to cry it out.
  • He should be sleeping in his crib. We’ve decided to co-sleep. I am breastfeeding and this is the easiest for us. We will move him to the crib when we feel the time is right.
  • You shouldn’t let him pacify at the breast. I’m just going to assume that pacifers were created by a man… and yes, Wikipedia proves me right... in the early 1900s to mimic the nipple as a way for infants to self-soothe. You really don’t think the original and most natural pacifier is bad for my son? Besides, he’s only been on the boob 5 mins longer than his feed… he ain’t crying. What’s your issue?
  • Cloth diapers are not better for the environment. I’m not going to get into the environmental or economical arguments surrounding cloth vs. disposables. I’m just going to say: cloth diapering works better for us and our little man prefers it. If you aren’t doing my laundry, you don’t get an opinion in my household.
  • Just give him a soother. He’s not really hungry. He just ateOh really? You know what my baby’s hunger queues are from spending 1 hour with him? I on-demand feed. Baby eats when he wants to eat, not on a set schedule or when it’s convenient for you… because you want to hold him right now. :/
  • You don’t want people to see your breasts! *gasp* *shocked expression*!!!!! Since having my son, I have a new found appreciation for my breasts as a non-sexual source of nourishment and comfort. Wyatt hates the hooter hider. I don’t ask you to eat your supper under a blanket, why should he?

I try my hardest to ignore endless rants that don’t align with our choices. It’s also much easier to give basic responses (or change the subject) rather than constantly having to defend our choices. Although I think life would be much more amusing if I gave the answers above! 🙂

Today, I also stumbled upon a post, Not Amused by Mama at Heart, that contains friendly holiday reminders for families dealing with newborns this season. I suggest you check it out as I second everything she said!

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Pregnancy announcements that stir up judgement

I find it really hard when people get pregnant naturally after trying to conceive for many years or after conceiving once through fertility treatments. I mean it’s an amazing blessing for them, but it’s super hard for me to wrap my head around it.

The hardest part of all is how fertile people react to these stories. It’s like the whole myth of “just relax” is completely validated to them.

Recently, an old friend of mine announced her pregnancy. We are still Facebook friends, but don’t keep in touch more than a few messages once or twice a year. When I came out about our infertility struggles, she messaged me as her partner and her were considering seeking treatment. I offered her some advice, but never got an update on their status.

She’s also friends with my parents. My Dad asked if I saw her announcement. I said yes and mentioned how I wondered if they ended up doing treatment? My Dad said my Mom spoke to her and it sounded like they hadn’t. His response was abrupt. What I got out of it was the fact that they didn’t NEED treatment.

This reaction stirred up something inside of me. I’m not sure whether I’m still feeling judged by my family for pursuing fertility treatments or if I’m still struggling with their lack of understanding.

When this happens, I start questioning things like…

Would we have conceived on our own if we waited longer?” 

“Did we need to try HARDER?” 

“If they didn’t need treatment, why did we?”

None of these questions are productive. They stir up feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and resentment.

Am I ashamed of my infertility? Definitely not. And I’m sure not afraid to share my story, but I still have some work to do on embracing our success.

There is no sense in comparing my journey to someone else’s.  Each and every fertility journey is unique – even for couples who have also done IVF. Science can predict certain things, but not everything. Sometimes the unexplained remains unexplained.

I don’t need to justify the reasoning behind our decision to move forward with treatment. I just need to accept that our decision was the right one for us.

Although it’s hard not to dwell on the negative and question why you’ve been dealt a certain hand, it’s way healthier to focus on the positive outcomes.  Wyatt is a miracle of science and love. IVF helped us bring him into the world and gave us the biggest blessing of our life. For that, I will be forever grateful.

I am a proud Momma of a beautiful IVF baby.

Damn proud.

Immensely grateful.

As long as I keep that in my heart, I know I can let go of all judgement and let love lead me forward. ❤

 

6 weeks postpartum

Wyatt is 6 weeks old. My oh my! How the time flies!

You spend so many years wishing and wanting for this baby. Once they are here, you blink and they are already so big compared to when you first laid eyes on them. I keep wondering how fast his childhood will go by. I don’t want it to go by fast, but it just seems like each day moves so quickly.

Wyatt is still doing awesome. My little milk monster eats well and is gaining weight. He’s recently grown a cute little double chin. A week and a half ago, he was already over 12 pounds and had grown 1.5 inches since birth. He graduated from newborn sizes by week 2. He is already moving up from 0-3 months to 3-6 months in some brands of sleepers. I say sleepers because let’s get real here: who really dresses their kid? Wyatt has worn “real clothes” maybe a handful of times.

As for me, my lady bits are doing much better. I’m still battling the dreaded hemorrhoids and I’ve got a ways to go until the perineum is 100%, but we are making progress. I’ve also come down with bacterial vaginosis which is lovely (meaning: itchy, red and smelly – LOVELY!). My naturopath has hooked me up with some probiotic suppositories and it should be cleared up in no time. I’ve never had this before, but I guess it makes sense after all the hormonal changes, frequent bathing, trauma and transition that my vajay-jay has gone through. :/ My poor vagina. 

As for embracing motherhood, it has come easily and brings me so much satisfaction. I love breastfeeding especially the bonding that comes from it. I’m still not pumping, but I’m ok with that. I love my baby and if exclusively breastfeeding works for us, I’ll keep at it. I have no trouble busting out the boob at my close friend’s houses, but I still cover up in front of my husband’s male relatives (especially my FIL and my husband’s Uncles). I wish breastfeeding without being covered was more of “the norm”, but many folks in my husband’s family are old fashioned in a very modest sense. I hope in a few months to not care as much what other people think and be willing to just let it all out to make it easier for both Wyatt and I. I haven’t breastfeed in public without a cover yet, but I am looking forward to the sense of freedom I will get once I get there.

My biggest challenge still remains embracing a slower pace of life that is based on baby’s schedule. For example: Tonight I hoped to make a fresh stir fry for supper, but Wyatt cluster fed all late afternoon. No stir fry was made. My husband picked up take out. Going with the flow is necessary with a newborn. My expectations can’t be so high of myself or the state of my household. I have to constantly remind myself that it’s ok to spread my to-do list out over a longer period of time. I saw this on Facebook yesterday and it spoke to me:

So you didn’t get much accomplished today, You ran the washing machine a few times today , but barely got one load finished, because you kept forgetting to take the load out of the washer so you ran the same load three times. All baby wanted to do today was nurse and sleep, but the problem was anytime you tried to escape the sleeping baby, it’s like some alarm goes off and baby instantly wakes back up, so you stop fighting it, and decide to nap with baby. You take a good look around your house and think, “How can I be this tired and still have it look like I got nothing done today?” Then you look down at your happy baby who is giggling and cooing and you soon realize , “But I did get a ton done today! My baby is happy, fed, & content. Clean nappy & full belly of my milk because I made sure to eat extra snacks so I could produce that milk. I may have neglected some of my chores, but all of that can wait because my baby needs me today.” I am my baby’s food source, comfort, sleep aid, & even though baby takes up most of my day I wouldn’t have it any other way!
From- A mom who gets it-

So, that’s where I’m at. Trying to enjoy and embrace each moment with my son while he’s still little. We waited so long to get here. I have every right to enjoy it. ❤