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15 Tips to Prepare for your IVF Embryo Transfer

15 Tips to Prepare for your IVF Embryo Transfer

15 Tips to Prepare for your IVF Embryo Transfer – doesn’t that statement bring pure excitement to you?!  At the same time, doesn’t it bring nervousness and panic of the unknown?  As a person who has already done it, I vividly remember scouring the internet and Pinterest looking for posts on what to do to be prepared, what to expect, etc.  However, I didn’t find a whole lot of information on the subject.

After a lot of thought, I decided to put together a list of things that helped me prepare and survive my IVF embryo transfer.  Remember, I am not a doctor and you should follow your doctor’s instructions regarding anything related to your health and the embryo transfer.  This list is more of a mental prep to help reduce stress during your transfer and also to help make sure during your down time you’re not bored out of your mind!

  1. Finances

Ensure all bills are paid early so you don’t have to stress about them during your embryo transfer, especially any bills/payments related to your fertility treatment.  During this time, you want to be as relaxed as possible and allow your body to do what it’s supposed to do.

  1. Employment

If you are employed, be sure to schedule your time off in advance.  Make sure you provide any written notifications for your medical absence if necessary, and take care of any work-related business that may need to be handled before or during your embryo transfer.  Also, make sure your employer understands that your time off during your embryo transfer is fluid and is not exact.  For example, my embryo transfer went as planned, but about three weeks later I ended up on bedrest for a little over two and a half weeks.  Luckily, I had an amazing staff at my facility that was able to keep things running smoothly without any of the parents noticing my absence.

  1. Schedule

Map out all of your appointments for your fertility cycle.  You do not want to miss one once you are in the process.  Literally, TIMING IS EVERYTHING!!!  This is the time to pay very close attention to every last detail… being a little neurotic is key!

  1. Meals

I fell short here and my poor husband had to really scramble to make sure we didn’t starve!  I recommend making a few freezer meals that you both love so that dinners are not stressful or that you buy some pre-made meals at the store.  Also, make sure to grocery shop ahead of time.  Have your house stocked with plenty so that if Meal Plan A doesn’t work, you can easily go to Meal Plan B without much effort.  You also want to be sure to eat healthy during this time.  Ask your doctor if they have any recommendations for your diet or if there are foods you should avoid.  Remember, you want this time to be easy, relaxing, and NOT stressful.

  1. Snacks & Drinks

Be sure your house is stocked.  Have plenty of snacks that are easy to eat laying down on the couch or bed.  Have plenty of water and other beverages (approved by your doctor) that are ready to drink.  You need to stay hydrated during your embryo transfer.

  1. Clean House

This may or may not apply to you, but having a dirty house really stresses me out.  I recommend making sure that your house is at least to a level of cleanliness that makes you comfortable.  During your down time for your embryo transfer, you don’t want to look around the house and start making mental notes of what needs to be done once you are up and moving around again, because it will just make you stressed and/or annoyed.

  1. Laundry

Have all laundry done.  Be sure you and your partner have clothes to wear during your down time.  Also, be sure you have comfortable clothes to wear while on bedrest.  Consider the weather… I recommend dressing cooler and then having blankets available to cover up with if you get cold.  There is nothing worse than being hot and uncomfortable.

  1. Station Setup

Have a little station setup where you will be doing your bedrest.  I had a little table and basket that was within arm’s reach.  In the basket I had chapstick, hand sanitizer, lotion, pens, paper, my journal, a book, a crochet project, a few magazines, and my phone charger.  Then on the table I had water bottles and a variety of snacks to help me get through the day.  I was very fortunate to have family stop by to make me lunch, but if you are not in the same situation, maybe have a cooler for your lunch.

  1. Entertainment

Books, magazines, television, music, crochet, knitting, drawing, writing, or whatever entertains you is perfect.  Just remember to avoid anything that causes you to be emotional.  I was supposed to avoid anything that caused me to be upset or made me laugh hard.  You want your abdomen to be resting so that your little baby(ies) can embed in your uterus.

  1. Family & Friends

Decide which family and friends you are going to share this information with.  If you are choosing not to share this information, what will you tell people to explain your downtime?  If you are telling people, decide who you’ll tell and make sure they understand the process.  The goal is to relax during your embryo transfer, so you don’t want to be bombarded with questions (this can cause stress).

  1. Don’t Research (excluding this post 😉 )

Once your egg transfer is complete, don’t research!  Or, at the very least, do it with a grain a salt.  If you are following your doctor’s orders, you are doing everything you possibly can that is in your control.  Let your body do its job.

  1. Location, Location, Location

This may seem odd to mention, but consider where you are going be during your bedrest.  In my experience, I was to limit how often I got up.  This included showering, using the restroom, and even brushing my teeth.  So, when I say consider location, I literally mean consider location.  I recommend a location that is near the restroom and bedroom.  This will help eliminate any extra time on your feet.

  1. Settle your Soul

Pray, meditate, journal or whatever you need to do to settle your soul.  No matter how much preparing you do, the unknown is hard on your soul.  The reality of this egg transfer possibly making you a mother or not making you a mother is enough to send my own heart racing while I’m typing this.

  1. Follow all Directions

Follow all directions that your doctor has provided… NO EXCEPTIONS!

  1. RELAX

Bahahaha… can you believe I just wrote that?!  Who can relax during a time like this?!  All joking aside, seriously try to relax and let your body rest.  It is working hard.

I hope this list is helpful to you while you are on your journey to becoming a mother and I wish you all the best!  And as always, if you would like to leave a comment below, please feel free to do so.

Cheers to Motherhood!
Lisa

15 Tips for Picking the Perfect Summer Program

15 Tips for Picking Your Child’s Perfect Summer Program

I can’t believe I am already typing this post… where has the time gone?  I swear it was just Christmas.  However, I will admit, after the amount of rain we have had this winter, I am ready and willing to welcome the summer.  School is almost out, which means it is time to pick a summer childcare program for your kiddos.  This always seems easier than it is.  There is so much to consider when picking a perfect summer program for your child.  I decided, as a previous director of a child development center, I would put my experience and knowledge to work and give you my best tips for picking the perfect summer program.  Here are my 15 Tips for Picking Your Child’s Perfect Summer Program:

1.  Program or Facility Licensing

Is the facility you are enrolling your child in licensed by the State?  This is important, because the State ensures things are being conducted the way they are being presented to you.  The State also verifies certifications, background checks, and ensures that the program or facility is following the required rules.

It is important to note that each state is different and so it is important for you to understand the laws for your state.  For example, in my state, a program running three months or less does not have to be licensed.  This means nobody is checking on the facility to ensure it is safe, if the instructors are qualified or background checked, or that child to teacher ratios are being followed.  Does this mean you shouldn’t enroll your child?  No, but it should be another item of consideration.

Another thing to consider is if the summer program’s location has required fire and health inspections. Again, depending on your state, often licensed programs are required to have fire and sanitation inspections every year.

2.  Background Checks

Is everyone working at the program required to be background checked?  Does this include parent helpers, volunteers, janitors, and maintenance workers?  Or is it only those who directly work with your child?

3.  Staff Certifications

What type of certifications are required of the staff (including volunteers)?  Are staff required to have their food handler’s card?  What type of education is required to run the program?  Is any continued education required to maintain their position?

4.  CPR/First Aid

Is CPR/First Aid training a requirement?  Does each staff member have to have CPR/First Aid training?  Does this include parent helpers or volunteers?  If so, what type of training does this include… infant, child/adult or just one or the other?

5.  Costs & Payments

Nobody wants to put a price on their child, but the reality is it takes money to run a program and you generally (there are always exceptions) need to pay for your child to attend.  So, are you able to afford it?  If so, how do you pay for it?  Are their payment due dates?  Does the cost need to be paid all up front?  Are there incentives to pay ahead or in a lump sum?

These are important questions, because you don’t want to lose your spot due to a lack of knowledge, nor do you want to rack up late fees for not knowing the due dates.  I always recommend asking about discounts.  Worst case scenario is they say no… however, they could say yes and save you some money!

5.  Snacks and Meals

Who is responsible for providing the snacks and lunches?  If the program provides any, what type of food is it?  Is it an additional cost?  What times are the snacks provided and when do the children usually eat lunch?

These may seem like silly questions, but if your child is used to eating every two hours and the program has a bigger gap, it is something to consider.  Maybe you still enroll, but work with the program director to ensure your child has access to snacks if they get hungry.

6.  Child to Adult Ratios

What is the child to adult ratio?  Does this ratio account for volunteers?  Are there times during the day that the ratio can change?

It is important to note that ratios are mandated for licensed programs by the state that I live in.  For example, for infants we had 1 adult to 4 infants.  You could always have more adults to the 4 infants, but never more infants to the 1 adult.  Also, the ratios changed if age groups were mixed or if children were sleeping during nap times.

No matter where you live or what your state requires, it is best to know and understand how the program works so you know what type of care your child is receiving as well as what you are paying for.

7.  Age Groups

Will my child be placed in a group according to age or will it be based on something else?  What is the age span of the kids in the program?  Are there times that the groups are mixed together?  If so, for what length of time?

8.  Discipline

What form of discipline does the program practice?  As the parent, do you agree and support this type of discipline?  Does your child need any extra type of care when it comes to disciplining?  If so, this would be an incredibly important topic to discuss with the program director prior to enrolling.

9.  Schedule & Closure Dates

Are there days that the program will be closed?  Are you being charged for those closure dates?  Also, what time of day does the program open and what time does the program close?

I would highly suggest getting a calendar of the closure dates so you can be sure you have them marked on your family calendar.  It is also important to know how early you can drop your child off and how late you can pick them up.  Some programs will charge a late fee if you don’t pick up your child by a certain time.  You also don’t want to repeatedly frustrate the staff by being late, because that means they don’t get to go home on time.  Ain’t nobody happy when that happens!

10.  Education vs. Playschool & Screen Time

Is it an educational program or is it more of a play school environment?  Is there screen time allowed?  If so, for how long?

At my facility, we did not have any screen time allowed other than the day before a holiday, which was a special treat.  We usually had some type of party with treats and fun holiday focused activities and then we would maybe watch a movie.  This only applied to the older children, not the babies.  However, screen time on a day to day basis was not allowed.

This means you need to decide what you are looking for in a program.  Is screen time okay with you?

11.  Facility Safety

Is the program you are enrolling your child in a safe building and is it an adequate environment?  Do they have appropriate toys and an outside area for your child?  Are there enough bathrooms and do they have the appropriate supplies needed to run a program?

These are all questions to consider when selecting your child’s summer program.  Some of these may seem obvious, but you might be surprised when looking for your child’s perfect summer program.

12.  Parent Responsibility

As the parent, do you have any additional responsibilities to the summer program?  Do you have to volunteer a certain number of hours while your child is enrolled?  Are you required to provide snacks based on a rotating snack calendar?  Will you be expected to help with field trips?

I can’t stress this enough… it is very important to know and understand your side of the agreement when you enroll your child in a program.  The more you know and understand, the less likely there will be an issue down the road.

13.  Supplies

Are you responsible for buying supplies (art supplies, paper, glue, pencils, markers, etc.) for your child to attend?  If so, when do they need to be purchased?

14.  Field Trips & Transportation

Will there be any field trips?  If so, what type of transportation will be provided?  What type of supervision will be on the field trip?  Are there additional costs for the field trip?

15.  Does your Child Like it?

I know this seems like a silly question to consider, but I cannot stress how important it truly is.  Your child is going to be spending a lot of time at this summer program, and if they don’t like it, I highly doubt it is going to work… no matter how perfect the program is!

I realize the above list seems long and overwhelming, but it’s a big deal leaving your child in someone else’s care.  It is important for you and your child to feel comfortable, and that you know your child is being left in a safe and loving environment.  Knowledge is power!

Cheers to summer!
Lisa

15 Tips for Picking Your Child's Perfect Summer Program
Toddler Anger and How to Redirect It - Dreams and Caffeine

Toddler Anger and How to Redirect It

Before children, I wouldn’t have thought a post would exist about adorable & funny toddlers and anger.  However, as a parent in the trenches of toddlerhood, toddler anger and I have become BFFs.  I have been blessed with two amazing children that are sweet, loving, cute, and super funny.  They are also both strong-willed and determined.  Once something doesn’t go according to their plan… toddler anger rears its ugly head.  Sometimes, it’s not a huge deal and it is easy to redirect.  Then there are other times, that is not the case.  So, with a ton of trials and FAILS, I have come up with two techniques that work very well for my two kiddos, and thought I would pass them along to you.

1.  Give a Hug

Stop everything, get down at your child’s level and give them a big hug.  I am talking about a full contact, full of love and understanding, kind of hug.  Sometimes, especially when a toddler is emotionally charged, they just need to stop and see that you are not the enemy and that you are trying to help them.  It also stops the situation from escalating.  Once things have settled down, you can talk with your child about their feelings and provide options to help them control their emotions.  Of course, consider the child’s age and abilities when providing options.

The hug option has served me well, especially when my daughter had a limited vocabulary.  It was like a reset button to the situation and then we could give it another go, maybe from a different angle.  As she has gotten older, and her vocabulary and cognitive abilities have increased, I tend to go with the second technique first, and then end with hug to keep things positive.

2.  Smell Your Flower, Blow Out the Candle

Yes, that is what I meant to type.  This is a breathing exercise to help relax and calm your child.  I was introduced to this technique by a teacher I worked with.  Basically, the phrase, “smell your flower, blow out the candle,” is used to help the child understand what you need them to do.  A lot of children at this age won’t understand if you just simply tell them to relax and breath.  However, by utilizing the statement above, they have a better understanding of what you’re asking them to do.

I suggest getting down at their level and demonstrating.  Take your hand and hold it under your nose (like you are holding a flower) and take a deep breath in to “smell the flower,” then move that same hand out in front of your face (like you are holding a candle) and “blow out the candle” to exhale.  Have the child do this exercise three times or until the child is calm.  Once the anger is under control, and the child is calm enough to talk, proceed to discuss the situation that just occurred.  Then I end with a hug!

Research & Results

These two techniques have served me well with dealing with toddler anger.  The American Psychological Association states that, “Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help soothe angry feelings,” (http://www.apa.org/helpcenter/controlling-anger.aspx).

We all know that when we’re angry it’s because something is not going as we wanted it to.  As adults, it is easier to control our feelings when this happens, because we have had years of practice.  A toddler, on the other hand, is just learning how to navigate these new situations and feelings, so it can sometimes be overwhelming.  Remember, it is important for you as the parent to stay calm and know this is not about you.  It is your responsibility to guide your child through their emotions and help them learn to deal with them.  The earlier a child learns to deal with their emotions, the better equipped they will be to deal with life’s ups and downs.

I hope this helps those in the trenches and maybe prepares those getting ready to enter.  Thanks for stopping by and I hope your week is off to a great start!

Cheers,
Lisa

 

s to Help a Grieving Friend - Dreams and Caffeine

10 Tips to Help a Grieving Friend

Good morning and welcome to today’s post on 10 Tips to Help a Grieving Friend.  It was the anniversary of my mother’s passing recently and it really got me thinking of my loss and how it has truly changed me and my life.  My mother passed about a month after I got engaged (luckily, she knew and supported my future husband and our relationship).  Since her passing, I have had so many life changing moments that I would have loved to share with her… getting married, battling infertility, IUI & IVF/FET, getting pregnant, having a baby, and then having a second child.  There are days that I look at my children and they just crack me up… and I think of my mom and how much she would have adored my kiddos.

As you can tell from the above paragraph, I am able to talk and write about my mother and her passing in a much more positive light.  That has not always been the case, especially when I first lost her.  Digging deep and going back to those first moments, I can’t help but remember the pain (it actually physically hurt my heart) and the anger.  The pure exhaustion and heartbreak I felt from seeing my dad, sisters, and nieces & nephews go through this truly painful experience.  So, as the old saying goes, I thought I would turn lemons into lemonade and put my experience to good use to hopefully help someone else who might be experiencing loss.

Here are my 10 Tips to Help a Grieving Friend…

  1. Send texts or emails to let your friend know that you are thinking of them and that if there is anything you can do, just let you know.  This may seem impersonal, but I promise you, during this time they may be only able to handle a text.  And know that they may not respond, but when all is said and done, they’ll remember.
    *Facebook – avoid public communication unless they have initiated it.  This is a very personal situation and should be dealt with as such.
  2. Send a card and let your friend know that you are there and supporting them every step of the way.  When the dust settles, they will have the card there to remind them of your support.
  3. Bring food… and by this, I mean prepare a meal and drop it off.  Don’t bother them with conversations, questions or socializing unless they initiate it.
  4. Drop off groceries.  Their house is probably empty because they haven’t been able to or don’t want to go to the grocery store.  So, bring things like milk, butter, laundry soap, dish soap, etc.
  5. Bring snacks (donuts, coffee, candy, chips, etc.)I remember when my mom was passing our entire family was there and everyone was in a zombie state.  No one was really eating, but some family friends had dropped off bags full of candy and snacks, making it easy to walk by the table and grab a handful and eat it.  I don’t remember what it tasted like or if I even liked it, but it kept me and my family fueled.
  6. Offer to run errands.  Unfortunately, the world doesn’t stop for our pain or loss and the bills still must be paid.
  7. Be a good LISTENER.  If your friend does want to talk, just listen and be supportive.  Don’t make it about you… it’s their pain and their loss.
  8. Don’t make statements that are annoying… like “everything happens for a reason,” “they are in a better place now,” or “at least they are not in pain or suffering anymore.”  While these all might be true and your friend might agree… they probably don’t want to hear it.  When I lost my mom, I wanted to tell people who said phrases like this to quit talking.  Though I agreed, I still hurt from my loss and didn’t want to hear it.
  9. Let them cry, be angry, vent their anger, rationalize, etc.
  10. Be patient.  It is going to take time for your friend to heal and during that time there will be good days and there will most definitely be bad days.  Just be there and support them in any way you can.

At the time, it won’t seem like they noticed your support, but I promise you they did.  When I lost my mom suddenly and unexpectedly, I can tell you exactly who was there for me and who was not.  I can also tell you who was helpful and supportive and who was not.  Please realize that what we’re going through you cannot fix, take away the pain, or speed up the process.  You can only be our supportive friend… which means a lot.

Also know that at the end of the experience we grow and learn that the pain from our loss never really goes away, but it does get easier with time.  And even with time something will happen, a family gathering, or your kiddos might do something that your loved one would have loved, or the holidays roll around and it reminds you of your loss and your heart and soul rips open to the same anguish you felt the very moment your loved one passed.  To say time heals is a joke… it just simply numbs the daily pain to make life manageable.

So, dear friends, I hope you find this sad, but honest information helpful, and please remember that everyone deals with loss differently.  In the end, just be sure they know you’re there for them and willing and ready to support them in any way you can.

To the Mom I lost way too early… you may be gone, but never forgotten!

Cheers to healing!
Lisa

I know now that we never get over great loses; we absorb them, and they carve us into different, often kinder, creatures.