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Pregnancy

Coping with Fertility Issues – Supportive Tips

Fertility issues: it’s something that is more common than you may think, but something that people often don’t talk about for fear of over-sharing, or appearing vulnerable or “broken.” The double-edged sword of this complex situation, though, is that often, people find it helpful to share their experiences with fertility complications, to discuss their struggles with people who have gone through similar issues. Coping with fertility issues isn’t something you have to do on your own. Here at the Blossom Method, we have a few tips for people who are trying to cope with infertility that can help make things easier on you.
Spend Time on Non-Pregnancy Activities
It’s easy to get wrapped up in baby-related activities. Whether you have friends or family members having babies, or you keep getting invited to baby showers and just need a break, remember that it’s okay to decline an invite if you don’t feel comfortable to attend. Struggles with infertility can feel magnified when you have to spend time with people who had no trouble conceiving, so don’t feel bad if you need to sit some parties or gatherings out.

It’s important to also spend time doing things you like, rather than devoting all of your free time to things like researching ways to get pregnant or stressing out by Googling all the potential things that you think could be keeping you from conceiving. Take time to take care of yourself and enjoy your hobbies; pursue your interests—though it’s easier said than done, trying to get your mind off of the problems can help a bit.
Get Infertility Support from Friends, Family and Counselors
This may seem like a no-brainer, but it can help to open up to those around you. Letting […]

One Size Does Not Fit All: Coping with Pregnancy Anxiety After Loss

The majority of women I work with come to me because something happened to them during a previous pregnancy that resulted in some type of baby or pregnancy loss. Now, they are pregnant again—anxious and frightened. The formula they had put in place last time will not work for them now. I’ll hear things like, “I adore my OB, but going back into that waiting room, seeing the receptionist, hearing those phones ring sends me into a panic,” “The second bank of elevators in that building is where I was when the call came in,” or, “The ultrasound room has too many bad memories for me.”
New OB/GYN with a New Pregnancy
For many of these women, they want a fresh start. They want a new office, a new doctor, and in some cases, a new hospital altogether. Their OB may have graduated at the top of their class from Harvard or Princeton, but to these women, it’s a bad feeling, a foreboding premonition, a bad omen to return. I tell them that there are no rules—it is up to them to make the decision that feels right. One patient told me that after she became pregnant again and went to several visits at her old OB’s office, the OB told her that seeing how painful it was for this patient to return to the “scene of the crime” each month for her checkups was too hard to watch. The OB told the patient to switch to another doctor, and to return once the baby was born. That is exactly what the patient did—that OB clearly cared about her patient.
Extra Medical Care to Avoid Pregnancy Loss
I have other patients who decide that being seen by a […]

Asking Pregnancy Questions: Do You Really Need to Know?

It breaks my heart–week after week, I meet with clients who are struggling with getting pregnant, a recent loss, or maybe a new pregnancy after previous losses. They’re making progress, but are suddenly completely derailed by a simple (yet unnecessary) question or comment from a stranger. I’d believe more often than not, the stranger has no ill intention by commenting or asking a question, but I would like to challenge everyone to consider what others may be going through that you don’t know about before speaking up. Just think: how often you have asked, or have heard someone ask, “When are you due?” or  “Are you guys trying to get pregnant?” or comment on someone’s cute baby bump?
The Importance of Consideration
Recently, I had a client (we’ll call her “Sarah”) who had just delivered her baby at 37 weeks, but the baby passed away shortly after birth.  Although Sarah was prepared prenatally for the loss of her daughter, the grief and overwhelming sadness was a lot for her and her husband to handle.  Two weeks after losing her baby girl, she decided she needed to face the world again and went to the grocery store. In a mere 30 minute trip, Sarah was approached by two strangers who made seemingly benign, yet very hurtful comments, given the situation.  The first asked when she was due – she was two weeks postpartum, so she naturally still had a “bump,” but she sadly did not have the baby.   After tearfully walking away from that stranger, she tried to summon the courage to get through her shopping list.  Then, as she was paying for her groceries, the cashier said, “Oh, I love your little bump – enjoy the […]

Tips for Coping with Infertility and Finding Support

Infertility: it’s more common than we all think and for those who are dealing with it, it can be devastating. The pressure to have a family, for many people, is intense, and when it seems like that’s not possible, it seems inevitable that grief, depression, and frustration would be just a few of the emotions someone would experience. Many women struggle to feel truly happy for friends and loved ones when they announce a pregnancy, knowing that they are having trouble conceiving. Infertility, though common, is often kept quiet, for fear of bringing up a “sore” subject for someone.

Those who are experiencing it can feel very alone.  You’re not alone, though—and that’s something you’ve probably heard over and over. It’s true. Coping with infertility can be extremely difficult, but thankfully, there are methods and resources that can ease the pain, stress, and disappointment.
Don’t Blame Yourself
As with not being alone, you’ve likely been told, time and again, not to blame yourself.  However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t hear it yet again. It’s easy to try and pinpoint all the things you’re doing wrong—

Are you eating the wrong things?
Or not sleeping enough?
What about stress? Is being stressed about infertility exacerbating the problem?

There are a million ways to blame yourself for being unable to conceive, and it’s important to resist doing so. Instead, try and feel centered in the moment – focus on what’s happening now, rather than what has already happened. Try and zero in on looking forward to the ways you can manage infertility, rather than criticizing yourself for being unable to get pregnant.
Set Realistic Expectations
If you’re struggling to conceive, it’s important to work with your partner to set realistic expectations of what you’ll do—will […]

A Parent’s Manual for NICU Admissions

Nowadays, we are able to Google everything, or at least find a book that gives us more information about what we’re going through in life.  As women become pregnant, they and their partners often turn to the Internet, reference books and even apps on their smartphones and tablets to guide them through each step of the process.  These resources can provide a lot of great information regarding what to expect throughout the pregnancy and delivery—if everything goes smoothly. But what do you do when things don’t go quite as you had planned or hoped, and your baby is admitted to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)?
Online Resources: Incomplete NICU Parent Support
The bulk of the resources available only give guidance for pregnancies that go completely according to plan—the “ideal” pregnancy. What they don’t often tell you about are the various things that can go wrong—then again, it might be best that way, so as to not worry expectant mothers. That said, how many women plan on being put on bed rest, or developing preeclampsia during pregnancy? How many think they’ll have placenta previa or a premature delivery?  These resources often touch lightly on these topics and very briefly discuss the NICU.  Did you know that all babies born before 37 weeks are considered premature?  And that generally, all babies born before 35 weeks are automatically admitted to the NICU?
Neonatal ICU: Now What?
Premature delivery is stressful, and a baby’s admission to NICU is sometimes just the beginning of the roller coaster of emotions that some parents will experience.  There is first the excitement of meeting your little one, followed by the inevitable fear for the baby’s medical status and prognosis. New parents may then feel separation […]

The Power of Hope: Conceiving After Pregnancy or Baby Loss

I cannot speak to the biology or chemistry behind it, and I will not attempt to try, but the common refrain I hear from patients who are trying to conceive after a loss of a baby is that each month, it just doesn’t happen. Maybe they had a pregnancy loss at 10 weeks, maybe it was a full-term baby loss, or maybe it was a fetal anomaly that was lethal and they had to end the pregnancy. Either way, they’re ready for a baby now, but it just won’t happen.
Fertility Treatment
These patients often consult with fertility doctors. They take medication to stimulate their egg production, or they start the “fertility diet” of foods said to boost fertility like beans, pineapple and specific herbs. But in the end, months pass and nothing happens.

Then I have my fertility patients. Transfers get cancelled, not enough embryos are high enough quality to implant, chemical pregnancies come and go, and still, no positive pregnancy test.
Grief & Loss Counseling
What can I say to them? How can I keep hope alive? I start with the truth—the good news is that they have proven that they are able to conceive. That’s huge! Until there are three consecutive losses, most OBs will not initiate any testing as that is still within the range of “normal.” But no one in this situation wants to hear that what they’re going through is “normal” and that all they need to do is simply go home and try to get pregnant. For this reason, pregnancy loss counseling, infertility support groups, and loss of a baby support groups in Chicago are plentiful. Women aren’t alone in their struggles with conception and the grief felt by their loss.

And what […]

Signs of Postpartum Depression and What You Can Do

Giving birth is a powerful experience, bringing with it a rollercoaster of emotions that range from intense excitement to fear, joy to anxiety. Some new mothers, however, may experience some other, more unexpected emotions—depression and sadness.  While the “baby blues” are not uncommon, and include feelings of sadness, mood swings, and crying spells, when these symptoms are intense or last more than two weeks, they may be signs of postpartum depression or anxiety. If you think you may be experiencing postpartum depression or anxiety, it’s important to know that you’re not alone and that there are things that you can do to help get your life back to “normal.”
What Are the Signs of PPD?
With the fluctuation of hormones that comes with giving birth to your new baby, it’s common to experience mood changes or have difficulty sleeping or concentrating. These symptoms, which may only last a day or two, are referred to as the “baby blues,” and balance out not long after giving birth. For some women, though, those symptoms intensify and last longer, eventually interfering with their ability to take care of their baby or get through everyday activities. It can be difficult to distinguish what might be simple hormone changes versus what could be part of a larger issue, but if you know the symptoms of postpartum depression, you’ve already taken the first step.

Knowing what signs to look for can help you determine when to seek treatment for postpartum depression. Combined with feelings of sadness, postpartum depression can be characterized by symptoms including:

Severe mood swings
Loss of appetite
Overwhelming tiredness and fatigue
Intense irritability or anger
Insomnia
Feelings of guilt, shame, or inadequacy
Loss of interest in sex
Withdrawal from family and friends
Difficulty bonding with your baby
Thoughts of harming […]

The 33rd Chapter – Coping with IVF, Complicated Genetic Testing & Pregnancy Loss

A regular at the Blossom Method with his Wife Mandy, Creative Director and new Author Justin Winget shares the final entry, “Lessons Learned,” of his forthcoming book, The Thirty Third Chapter. Documenting the couple’s journey back from harrowing 20 and 38 week pregnancy losses, the narrative began on July 12th 2013:  Justin’s 33rd birthday and exactly one year after they celebrated a positive pregnancy test for their later stillborn son Carter. Setting a pre-defined ending date just before the clock turned to his 34th birthday, Justin picked-up writing just as the couple stood on the verge of another go at their dreams of parenthood. With hopes of pregnancy after loss via IVF layered with complicated genetic testing for the same rare genetic condition which plagued their first pregnancy: PGS and PGD

Written as a form of self-therapy for coping with pregnancy losses, Justin shares the culmination of his efforts surrounding IVF and genetic testing in “Lessons Learned” – the first complete entry revealed to readers. Follow along on Facebook and the Blossom Method Blog for more excerpts, and keep on the lookout for the book release sometime in 2015!

The Final Entry:

As I laid restlessly in bed watching the clock on my nightstand slowly tick towards midnight, I rewound back through all the bittersweet memories that culminated in the 33rd chapter of my life. It was not a particularly great year with more valleys than peaks, but I acknowledge it was one I needed to endure. While it tested every last ounce of my resolve, it was the only path that led to that next unrelenting chapter as a Father…

When I started writing 365 days ago, I thought this would be a completely different story. Sitting on the […]