Posted in Family, Kids, Life, pregnancy

Pregnancy, epidurals, and birth plans

Monday, Aug 21, 2017:

This is a great thread! A little background info… I’m an anesthesiologist for a fairly busy practice. That means we get called when you need an epidural or c-section. I am currently in my first pregnancy (so I haven’t experienced my own birth process), however I’ve seen and managed thousands of epidurals for delivery. One of the most important things moms can do for their pregnancies… Eat right (clean, get plenty of veggies and fruits) and exercise. This is the best prep work you can do! Secondly, have an open mind when selecting your birth plan. You are not in control of what will happen. What happens with your baby is what will dictate what you will need and what will be best for your baby. Many mothers have opted for a “natural” delivery and have been successful. Some mothers have been in a fully equipped medical center and have had bad outcomes unrelated to interventions for their baby. Your goal as a mom is to guide and give direction to your delivery team of your wishes — but this is a process that changes throughout your labor so flexibility is key. Epidurals are NOT harmful for your baby. There are multiple studies that’re well backed with huge sample sizes that prove this. Epidurals can slow certain stages of labor, but it’s NOT harmful to you or your baby. There’s a lot of misconceptions about epidurals. Whether it’s patient experience, epidural effectiveness (and this can be patient controlled), or fear of the unknown… epidurals have been given a bad reputation and sometimes these traumatic experiences are passed down without rhyme or reason (similar to the anti-vaccine movement which is dangerous!).

So, pick a birth plan… be flexible with it. Do what you can to optimize your health (and birthing experience) via diet and exercise. Lastly, no one loses when they’re comfortable. Comfort leads to a good experience and overall a happy mom, baby, and family.

Here’s my plan (which isn’t for everyone):

1) more plant-based diet w some fish

2) exercise via walks, hikes, and pilates/yoga/barre

3) birth plan: vaginal delivery with minimal pain (epidural immediately: I don’t want to feel a thing)… but anything to get the baby out safely.

4) breastfeed like crazy if possible

5) go back to work after 3 months

6) breast milk for at least 6 months (but will try for a year)

My plan isn’t for everyone… it’s for me. Good luck!!

https://krissymd06.wordpress.com/2015/05/30/ob-anesthesia/

https://aggiegrlworkout.wordpress.com/2015/07/18/birth-plan-vaginal-delivery-vs-elective-c-section/

My pregnancy

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Posted in Family, Kids, Life, pregnancy, Review

Pregnancy

The first day of my last period was April 25, 2017.  According to my Glow app, my average period length is 6 days and it looks like there’s roughly 37 days between periods.  That’s about 10 days longer than the average Jane.  That last period occurred on our honey moon! We came back home on May 9.  Then, I had a weeks worth of diarrhea from May 20-27 and ended up taking ciprofloxacin at that time.  As June approached, I was just fatigued for a bit and so was Bear.  We thought we had caught a bug or had some kind of weird travel lag from the trip.  I was still surfing regularly with Ross — maybe a couple times a week.  Around the summer solstice June 20, I had some light cramping. Breasts had been tender for a while, but that wasn’t anything out of the ordinary as my period approaches.  In early June, we went to  the Toast the Coast Wine Festival at the Del Mar Fair (June 10) and then the evening of June 20, we had burgers and beers at Encinitas Alehouse.  I had a funny feeling to pee on a pregnancy stick that evening, so I did.  Lo and behold it was POSITIVE!  I quickly called out to Bear to make sure he got an eye on the reading to make sure I was reading it correctly.  The next day, we went to the drug store and got one of those digital ones so there couldn’t be any reading errors.  It said PREGNANT.

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Once we found the info out, I immediately called to setup an appointment with my chosen OB/GYN.  I feel lucky to have a job in anesthesia because I get to directly see the work of our surgeons and care providers so it gives me an idea of who to seek for my own care if needed.  I setup an appointment with Kim Washkowiak for July 5 (1st ultrasound) and then an initial consultation on July 11.  I also started researching best books to read during this time and finally chose the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy.

According to the Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy that we’re reading, the chart states the following….

  • Week 1 If the first day of your last menstrual period was: Apr 25
  • Week 3 Conception likely occurred around: May 9
  • Weeks 5-10 Period of greatest risk of birth defects
    • Beginning of organ formation: May 30
    • Major organs have formed: Jul 4
  • Week 12 Risk of miscarriage decreases: Jul 18
  • Week 23 Some preemies can now survive: Oct 4
  • Week 40 (full term) Estimated due date: Jan 30

Mayo Clinic (2011-10-26). Mayo Clinic Guide to a Healthy Pregnancy (Bestsellers) (Kindle Locations 2230-2237). RosettaBooks. Kindle Edition.

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10 weeks, 1 day

But according to our OB and U/S reports, we’re due February 20, 2018.

July 5, 2017

I’ve had about 2 weeks of low grade nausea.  I keep wanting to eat small meals to stave off the “morning sickness” that rears its ugly head throughout the day.  I’ve got some ginger candies to help.  I’m also eating more plant-based meals (Veestro and Splendid Spoon) and craving grapefruit and fruits!  I haven’t worked out much bc of the nausea.  I’m trying to get 3x 16oz waters down in a day.  Initially, I was having to pee a lot…. not just during the day but it would also wake me up in the night.

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Week 18 – Sept 19-25, 2017

Recap:  The nausea was the worst for me from weeks 7-13.  It slowly got better.  Things I did to calm the nausea: ginger chews, ginger hot water/tea, bananas, toast, crackers, pasta, hydration, rest.  I found it worst during the day.  During that time, I also shunned Veestro and Splendid Spoon.  In fact, I could hardly tolerate any of my paleo foods that I typically eat.  Crackers and carbs were my savior.

Fast forward to week 18… life is good!  We just got back from a 2 week vacation to the Azores. I’m back at work and now I have Mondays off.  We’ve been doing research on state disability, maternity and paternity leave, vacation days for 2018, infant day cares, pediatricians, etc.  I still don’t see much of a baby bump yet, but my usual clothes are starting to feel tighter. Got my flu shot!  Pregnant ladies, it’s IMPERATIVE you get your flu vaccine (not the nasal one though) — read the CDC guidelines here.

So far, we’ve found the following books helpful:

Week 21: Oct 10 – 16, 2017

I’m still feeling pretty energetic and able to maintain my pilates workouts.  Typically, I aim for 3-4 one hour sessions/week.  The ladies at Club Pilates in Del Mar are fantastic and are always offering me alternatives for new moves as I advance in my pregnancy.  I’m hoping to keep this up until delivery and beyond!  We’e completed two prenatal classes so far.  Scripps offers a lot of classes and resources and we’re taking advantage of the learning opportunities!  So far, we’ve done Getting Ready for Baby part 1 and 2.  It was a great overview for absolute essentials we may need for our newborn as well as how to change a diaper, swaddle, when/how to bathe, etc.  It also included an excellent session given by a pediatrician on normal/abnormal poops, diaper changes, breastfeeding, circumcision, vaccines/shots, etc.

I’ve been in a rabbit hole of baby registry items/reviews and we’re slowly building our list.  I’m pretty meticulous about researching anything prior to pulling a trigger on anything big (house, car, insurance, stocks, appliances, electronics, etc.).  I consider a newborn to be a really BIG thing!

OB Anesthesia entries from my blog:

Week 22: Oct 17 – 23

This week, it was recommended that I only stick to the pilates 1.0 or 1.5 classes.  😦  Pilates has been great, but they’re totally right.  My cardiovascular capacity needs to really stay in check.  The mini is the size of a papaya this week.

Week 23: Oct 24 – 30

We just got back from our last flight to Boston.  Overall, I felt like I traveled fine… but I could see it being tougher as the pregnancy progresses.  Lately, I’ve been booking infant care tours for our little one when they turn 3 months.  I have two girlfriends with 2 kids who are terrific moms…each offer the advice of getting a nanny (instead of daycare).  I think a nanny or our moms would be great, but my biggest push for the daycare is to engage early development and socialization.  I think the nanny and our moms are great to help on certain days, but Bear and I work and that would be a 5 day a week commitment.  That’s a lot to ask for from our moms who live out of town.  Plus, I do not want a complete stranger (i.e. the nanny) around our baby just yet.  Consider it the mamma bear in me.  But, I want accreditation, vetting, background checks, early childhood education, experience…. and from what I am finding in my searches… it’s really hit or miss with the nanny.  I really am taking to the Montessori method for independent learning and self-soothing and the way it encourages infants/toddlers to participate in their environments.  Plus, one of the Montessori schools we’re looking at does language immersion.  Many educators have said that the most absorbent stage of learning is from 0-6 years.  Great link that compares infant care and nanny care.

YouTube video of LePort Montessori Infant School

Plus, I don’t really believe in decorating a nursery and such — we’re in the midst of creating/designing/constructing a companion unit and will then at a later date do a large remodel of the house.  So, simplicity and minimalism are my jam.  I read this article on the Montessori way of setting up your home for infant and I love it and would like to replicate it!

Comparing Montessori and Reggio learning styles (2 infant care philosophies we are looking at):

I’m ecstatic to learn about MontiKids – a toy delivery service that bases it’s philosophies on Montessori.  Every 3 months, the company will send you age/development appropriate toys to you.  I am so thankful for minimizing screen time and maximizing play/learn time with my future kiddo.

My YouTube Kid Playlist

We had our first breastfeeding class last night. It was actually really really informative.  We’re always the smallest “bump” in the class as I think most of the moms in there are due November…. and we’re not due until February.  But, I love having the info ahead of time so I can plan….and I only know my schedule one month in advance 2 weeks prior to the new month.  We’re definitely on board for 6 months of exclusive breast feeding and then starting organic, non-GMO, hormone-free foods around that time with supplemental breastfeeding.  I’d love to breastfeed for at least 1 year if it’s possible.  We’ll see!  I know it’s not an easy task.

All things Montessori:

We had our 24 week growth scan ultrasound on Oct 30. Everything looked great!

Week 24: Oct 31 – Nov 7

This week, the mini is the size of a large zucchini.  At this stage, we have a viable fetus.  Things are still going well.  I’m feeling little kicks.  Mini’s insertion of the umbilical cord is just slightly off center on the placenta.  The last growth scan showed no vasa previa and the baby was already positioned head down.  Funny thing, at every ultrasound… the Mini is super chill.  The ultrasound tech will push the probe into my belly to shake/wiggle the baby to move and change positions…. but to no avail.  Hopefully, they’ll be this chill when they’re born!

I’m looking at various cord blood companies to see whether it’s worthwhile to bank stem cells from the umbilical cord when the baby is born.  Basically, it’s kind of like having a backup source of undifferentiated cells that could turn into anything (bone marrow, red cells, white cells, tissue, etc.) if we ever need to use them down the line.  My biggest question is: what’s the viability/longevity of these cells to be effective if we need them?  It’s a pretty large upfront cost.  And nothing is guaranteed.  So… I asked my OB what she did with her kids and she said the first one it was free, and then she paid for the 2nd and the 3rd.  I’m going to continue my polling today to figure out if it’s worth it or not.  What I’d really like to know is if anyone has had to use these stem cells….. was it worth it?  Did it change the course of disease or alter treatments?

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Cord Blood Info:

So after reading through every one of these links…. I’m leaning more towards NOT banking.  If something isn’t going to be useful 10-20 years down the road…. why bother?  Plus, in 10-20 years, research and medicine will have advanced that there may be better treatment options available – i.e. creating stem cells that are a match to a recipient.  There are public stem cell and tissue registries.  I suppose the key thing is would we have a match for our multi-racial family from a public bank/registry?   We both have ZERO genetic history of diseases or cancers.  It’s a big upfront cost — and I’m not sure the technology is quite there for advanced treatments.  But, if I were to choose a private cord bank company right now, I’d probably choose CBR.

Update Jan 15, 2018, 34 weeks, 6 days: We ultimately re-discussed the cord blood/tissue banking and decided on CBR.  After chatting with several moms who did it…. a lot of them have regrets for not doing it…. and the ones who did it have peace of mind.  Bear and I further researched the topic and decided we would do it and chose CBR.

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24 weeks, 3 days

Had my 24-26wk Glucola testing on Nov 6.  This was after an unseemingly busy call day and night.  In fact, I got called back to the hospital at 2am and was starving — so had half a bagel at 2am (and therefore breaking the 12 hour fast rules).  I went in for the Glucola test at 7:30am.  The Glucola drink is 50g of sugar that tastes like a really flat Sunkist soda.  I thought for sure my test would be positive given my cortisol surge with the busy and stressful call day…… and fueled by my half bagel at 2am.  But, low and behold, my result was 126 (range less than 139) and negative for gestational diabetes.  Woohoo!!  Here’s some interesting reading material on gestational diabetes and diagnosing it: part 1, part 2.

Week 25: Nov 7-13

Definitely seeing and feeling changes during this week.  There’s no mistaking that I’m pregnant.  Before I just felt “fat” and heavy in the belly — so funny that some of my colleagues asked if I put on weight.  That stuff doesn’t bother me, but it cracks me up how guys can be so frank.  I’m still trying to do at least 3 classes a week of pilates.  I’m really enjoying Club Pilates that’s a studio all around the country.  Currently I’ve dropped down to just the 1.0 and the 1.5 classes — but they’re still kicking my booty!  I was consistently doing the 1.5 and 2.0 classes up until 23 weeks.  My fam has an ongoing bet whether the Mini is a boy or a girl.  I love it!  I even want to get in on it — but I can’t be the biased house.  So far…..here’s the tally…
Stud Hubs = girl
Mimi = girl
Aunt Chawn = boy
Uncle Larry = girl
Mom’s friends (Raymond and Nashat) = girl
My thoughts = I have no idea! How do people predict this stuff? Girl names keep popping in my head though.
At work (Lisa, Rick, Suzette, Thuy, Katy) = boy
At work (Juliette, Christina, Annetta) = girl
Baby shower majority = boy
Massagers at ThaiSport = girl
I can’t wait to see the bets roll in!
Week 26: Nov 14 – 20
Even at 26 weeks, I’m up daily at 6:22am… perks of the job.  There’s usually one or two pee awakenings in the middle of the night usually anywhere from 1-4am.  I think this sleep deprivation thing will be just like a call night.  I’ve been doing those for years (yes, at least a decade).  Night call on OB is roughly an every 2 hour wakeup call for an epidural or a bolus or a C/S… or it’s a trauma rolling in through the OR.  I think I’ll handle the transition well — but maybe that’s wishful thinking.  I want to do it all — have an amazing career, raise the Mini and be an awesome mom, and be everything my husband has ever dreamed.  Is it possible?  Will I be tired? Time will tell.  In the meantime, I’ve had a fabulous time jammin’ out on my uke.  In fact, I got an early Christmas present for myself — a new uke!
I’ve been doing more research and reading and listening to Audible books every spare chance I get.  This is of course at the same time when November and December are the busiest times at work (a lot of people try to fit their doctor visits in before their deductibles run out at the end of the year)…. and we’re starting a small (phase 1) remodel.  But, there’s never a good time to get stuff done despite being busy, so we just go for it!
Here are the books that I’m currently listening to or reading or are on my future reading list:
Week 27: Nov 21-27
 Happy Thanksgiving week!!!
  • Nov 23: Took the Amtrak train up to Camarillo to hang with Ross’ fam for Thanksgiving.  The train is the way to go!  Lots of space, bathrooms (important when a prego gal is going to the bathroom every 2 hours!), wifi, charging outlets, cafe cart, etc.  Ever since living in Boston, I have been a huge fan of public transportation!  It’s the way to go!  Thanksgiving was great.  Lots of great food, company, conversation, and mingling!
  • Nov 24: I’m on call today and just got called into work — that’s the life of a doc — we signed up for this so don’t feel sorry for us.  We know being on call and away is part of the gig.  No sympathy needed.  Saturday, we’ll go to my mom’s house and have another yummy feast!  For some reason, this year…I’m really loving and craving leftovers!  I know my mom will hook it up as I told her to prep a lot so I could eat it for at least a week.  Been playing the uke a lot lately (especially since getting my new tenor uke!).  Starting to form calluses on the fingers (used to have these when playing the violin)… such a good thing!  This lil kiddo is def gonna love music and the uke!  Now, to play more classical music and read to them!
  • Nov 25: Thanksgiving at my mom’s was great.  Lots of great food and leftovers and of course football — that’s our Thanksgiving tradition!
  • Nov 27: Everything looked great at my 28 week appointment. Got my dTaP vaccine.  Baby’s HR in 140s and baby is growing nicely.  My BP was good 119/64.  155lb on the scale (whoa!).  That’s about 20lb over my norm!  It’s definitely an adjustment to seeing the changes in my body…what it can and can’t do.  I’m getting more short of breath these days and that’s with hardly ANY activity.  Taking a flight of stairs – yeah… short of breath.
  • Things I miss most: hiking, wine, rock climbing, feeling in shape, being at peace (vs thinking about a million things constantly), date nights (usually too tired by the end of the week)
  • Things I won’t miss: being thirsty and drinking water all the time, peeing a couple of times in the middle of the night, not being able to sleep through the night while also being tired in the day (currently thinking about a lot of things right now), the low pressure/cramping, being short of breath, reflux, asking myself whether something is too hard or too heavy to lift or push, the hormonal push to growl at everyone
Some great link finds:
 Week 28: Nov 28 – Dec 4
 Today, the Mini is the size of a large eggplant.  Kick counts have started.  I have to get 10 kicks in an hour from now until the due date.  So far, the Mini has been meeting the 60 minutes on the 10 kicks.  Today was a long day at work — 11.5 hours all while being czar as well.  I feel like the month of December has been full of 10-12 hour days.  So, I decided to keep a log of my hours from now until my due date.  This Mini is gonna be resilient and adaptable.
I started having sacroiliac pain will doing bridge in pilates last Wednesdays.  It was a new feeling for me.  It felt kinda like something pulling my hip bones apart.  The pain was sharp and constant (but nothing I couldn’t handle) and stayed right in that sacroiliac joint.  It has resolved since then after a couple of other pilates classes.
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From Wikipedia
The Mini is doing well and making all their kick counts (10 in an hour).  Yesterday, we saw Todd and Lauren’s baby Skyler and she was absolutely adorable!  Almost 2 months old and such a gem to hold.  Todd and Lauren will be great parents!  One of the other girls there, Jenny who has had 4 kids, was such a wonderful wealth of information!  I felt like we talked most of the night!  Great food and company and baby welcoming!
My stress meter has been high this week.  The lack of sleep, the million things I’m reading and thinking about for a work-related issue/project, and the planning/decision-making for our phase 1 renovation of our home.  The great thing is that Bear is a great shoulder to lean on and I think he can tell that I’m feeling stressed (rarely do I show it).  I think it’s adorable how he looks after me and makes sure I’m ok.  D-Day was Dec 4.
Week 28 work hours: 51.5 hours
Week 29: Dec 5 – 11
Our mini is the size of a cauliflower this week!  There’s no mistaking that I’m preggo now — the belly can’t be sucked in.  It’s been interesting going through the changes with my body.  It’s such a surreal experience: the bump, the reflux, the constant peeing, the oops pee, the constipation/gas/bloating, the smaller stomach size (I get full on half my meals!), the sleeping positions to get comfy,… and it’s only going to get more interesting as the weeks go on.
 Week 29 work hours: 44.5 hours

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Week 30: Dec 12 – 18
 The OB shift was a gnarly one on Tuesday.  Worked solid from 7a to midnight.  There were a lot of colds on the OB floor.  It’s only a matter of time before I come down with something.  As luck would have it, I got assigned two TAVRs on Wednesday and worked from 8a-3:30p…. and that’s post-OB at #21.  Well, I did come down with a cold.  Mainly sore throat and slight sinus congestion.  Bear was sweet and brought some tom yum soup home for me as well as picked up a whole pharmacy of goodness.  I hit the Chloraseptic, lozenges, and Emergen-C.  Called the OB to find out if these meds were safe to take.  Theraflu is NOT safe for pregnant gals to take.  Tylenol and Robitussin are safe (neither of which I’ve needed).  Fortuitously had Thursday off bc I was unassigned that day (oftentimes we get work at a surgery center or something).  Spent the day on the couch in my jammies.  Bear brought home some pho for lunch and just took really good care of me.  He’s a solid support system!  Back at work today (Friday) for a full day and working both days this weekend.  The Mini is making their kick counts and growing!
We had another OB appointment today and growth ultrasound.  Everything is looking great!!  My BP is 110/60.  Fetal heart rate was in the 140s.  I weighed in at a whopping 156 lb.  For our ultrasound, the Mini measured at 3lb 15oz and is 60% on the growth curve!  They’re in the middle range for amniotic fluid, which is just right.  So far, everything is just going great for our lil Mini — who isn’t so mini anymore!  I’m feeling more of the symptoms of heartburn, stomach fullness, bloating/constipation/gas/etc…. and the bladder is taking a beating!  Nowadays I’m getting up 3-4 times a night (roughly every 2 hours).  The gals at work eagerly remind me that this is just prepping me for motherhood — funny but too realistic of a joke!
Week 30 work hours: 48.25

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Week 31: December 19 – 25
 This week was a rather joyful week as we were in the Christmas spirit!  The work week was a busy one as people try to fit in their surgeries before their insurance deductibles reset at the beginning of the 2018 year.  This year, my fam came down from Temecula and I whipped up a cabernet beef short rib, mascarpone polenta, and banana bread pudding.  My mom and aunt brought fermented cabbage, salad, and brownies.  We picked up some sides like beet salad and broccoli salad.  Overall, this was the first time I was making the recipes, but I was ecstatic that it came out as yummy as it did!  I did make some tweaks to the original recipes as I added some things more to my taste.
On Christmas Eve, Ross and I headed up to LA to spend time with Ross’ fam.  His brother made reservations at Fogo de Chao, a brazilian meat restaurant.  The meat cuts were tasty and the buffet bar was loaded with veggies and yummy fruit (I went back for thirds on the winter citrus fruit!).  For dessert, we had a delicious fruit ice cream.  After a big lunch (I didn’t even eat dinner that night bc I was still so full!), we headed back to Ross’ fam’s place and played Bingo, LCR, and pictionary.  Everyone was having a great time!
Christmas day, Ross and I had a nice peaceful morning opening presents and listening to Christmas music with the fireplace going.  It’s bittersweet to think that this will be our last Christmas alone together before the Mini comes!  It’s exciting to think how the Mini will change our lives in incredible ways!  Today, we pulled the trigger on MontiKids bc it’s such an amazing company that creates toys that are age appropriate with a focus on development and the Montessori way.  Here’s one gal’s review on MontiKids.
Hours worked: 35 hours
Week 32: Dec 26 – Jan 1
 My last full night call was Dec 26.  It ended up being a really nice, decent call night…. but I couldn’t get comfy sleeping in the call room.  I find that I absolutely NEED my Snoogle pillow.  So, not much sleep Tues night.  Came home and crashed Wed from 8a-11a.  Did a pilates class and felt good.
  • Thurs, Dec 28th: I don’t think I drank much water that day and ended up feeling pretty dehydrated.  Went to pilates and as I was doing bridge pose started feeling light headed like I was going to pass out.  I stopped and rolled onto my left side and put my legs up on the reformer foot bar (venous return is key!).  I stayed in this position until I felt back to myself (roughly 10 minutes) and then I finished off the class.  BUT,… when I went home that evening, the Mini did NOT make their kick counts.  They would maybe do 1 kick in an hour (instead of the 10 they’re supposed to get).  I fell asleep before I remembered to call the OB office.
  • So, Friday, I went to work and did a double heart day and then walked up to Labor and Delivery to get on the monitor to check out fetal heart tones.  Everything seemed to be ok — and that was a huge relief for me!
  • Saturday, Dec 30: Ross got a new car!  We needed to seriously upgrade his ride to something more child friendly and safe for our lil Mini!  The new year will be welcomed in 2018 with a lot of new changes!
Pilates this week has been a real kick in the pants.  I felt faint twice and realized that the wedge padding I use is not high enough for me bc I still feel light headed and get reduced venous return with any increase in heart rate.  Bridge pose is out for me as are most exercises on my back.  I’m super bummed about that.  For January, I dropped from the unlimited pilates plan (go as much as I want) to just the 4 class pass.
NYE was a busy day!  I worked from 7a-5:30p and then went out to a nice 7p dinner with my Bear at our first date spot Cucina Enoteca.  We got home around 9ish and tried to stay up, but we passed out on the couch from then until midnight!  Thank goodness for DVR bc we could rewind the NY ball drop and watch it and celebrate!  We opted for a new year tradition: planting one tree/plant (indoor or outdoor) each year!  This year we planted three indoor palms (chamaedorea costaricana, howea forsteriana, chambeyronia macro) and one outdoor palm (from our wedding: the blue green palm — butia capitata blue).
 Hours worked: 37.5 hours
Week 33; Jan 2 – Jan 8, 2018
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Our Baby Shower – Jan 13, 2018

Our Mini is the size of a pineapple!  Nowadays, sleep is escaping me (from the multiple wakeups to pee to just not being able to sleep despite being exhausted) — my most comfortable position is propped up with pillows and oftentimes I find my best sleep upright on the couch.  Bear is starting to nest — it’s so cute to see.  I easily go through a liter of La Croix in a day, but I found out that the BPA in the aluminum cans clearly aren’t good.  So Bear went to Jimbo’s and bought three different soda water beverages in glass containers.  He is soooooooo thoughtful!  At work, I’m heading to the bathroom every 2 hours.

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Hours worked: 26 hours

Week 34: January 9 – 15, 2018

Even though this week was a bit lighter for me (I had originally taken this week off as a staycation, but opted to just take Friday off), I couldn’t get comfy sleeping.  I took an OB call on Wednesday and was essentially done around midnight (I have a midnight rule at work: if I’m still at work at midnight, I just sleep in the call room).  While sleeping in the call room, I was only sleeping 1.5 hours at a time.  The insatiable thirst and constant and consistent potty breaks are starting to become unbearable.  I’m tired all the time and it’s from getting up every 1.5 hours all through the night.  It’s not even something I feel like I could fix unless I had a urinary foley catheter in place.  The belly feels like it’s getting bigger: getting up and out of bed is becoming more difficult (I have to roll to one side and then get up vs just getting straight up from a bend at the waist); the SI joint pain has returned with more frequency but it’s not unbearable; the Braxton-Hicks contractions are more common and coming higher up on my belly — before I would have maybe 1 every couple of days — this week I’m having several a day.  The Mini is still making their kick counts.  The gals on OB think I’m having a boy — they base this on: my “glow”, lack of acne on my face, the way I’m carrying the baby, my lack of all over weight gain…. although I’m not sure any of these old wives tales are accurate in any way.  I’d be ecstatic with a healthy baby, regardless of sex.

I’ve finished several books:

  • Brain Rules for Baby – listened to this on Audible (during 2nd trimester) and it’s outstanding.  Highly recommend for first-time parents and just setting a solid groundwork/foundation to build when baby comes.  This book was such a gem as it related a bit of science to baby development.
  • Unconditional Parenting: Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason – started this on Audible (3rd trimester).  This book was a nice eye opener that not all praise and punishment is the right kind.  I learned a lot about fostering positivity with effort and not just for anything that is done.  I agree that punishment is not a good system for motivation, but this book really uncovers that reward is NOT the best system for motivation either.  I plan to implement these techniques for our Mini.  This was my 3rd favorite book in the bunch I’ve been reading.
  • Montessori from the Start: The Child at Home, from Birth to Age Three – listened to this on Audible (3rd trimester).  Also gifted to both moms. This was a close second to Brain Rules for Baby (for me).  It tackles the principles of Montessori and the whys and hows to implement this method of development.  It promotes independence of the child, but also places importance on how to promote brain development with the simple things (simple toys: no bright lights or sounds, no screens, the power of imaginative play, etc.).  I highly recommend this book as a 2nd read after Brain rules for Baby.

Starting these:

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Our baby shower went off without a hitch!  It was great catching up with people and seeing the outpouring of love for our lil one on the way!  We could’ve easily fed 50 people — it’s always hard to know how much food to factor in.  We had Cardiff crack (tri-tip), burgers, pulled chicken sliders, coleslaw, veggies, dips and chips, cakes, cookies, potato salad.  It was an incredible feast!!  I only wish I could eat more!  I was only able to get a bite of beef tri-tip, one burger slider, and one chicken slider down before I was super stuffed!  Dessert came later around 7p for me.

The Braxton-Hicks contractions are more frequent now — having at least one daily — but anywhere up to 5 in a day.  Still waking up every 1.5-2hours nightly for a pee.  Drinking adequate amounts of water (I probably go through 4x 32oz of water daily and also 1x 32 oz water nightly.

We ultimately re-discussed the cord blood/tissue banking and decided on CBR.  After chatting with several moms who did it…. a lot of them have regrets for not doing it…. and the ones who did it have peace of mind.  Bear and I further researched the topic and decided we would do it and chose CBR.

Hours worked: 19.5

Week 35: January 16 – 22, 2018

 


BRAINSTORMING

http://www.babybargains.com

https://www.babygearlab.com
https://www.momtricks.com/

Setting up a baby registry
Help and favors registry
https://www.babylist.com/hello-baby/pregnant-chickens-kick-ass-registry

Strollers

Baby Carriers/Backpacks:

https://www.consumerreports.org/cro/backpack-carriers/buying-guide.htm

Car Seats:

Breast Pumps:

Beds:

High chairs:
Graco Blossom 4 in 1 system

Great Day Cares:
https://www.babylist.com/hello-baby/8-important-signs-of-a-great-daycare

Local Day Cares to check out:

Posted in Family, Kids, Life, work

Reflections

Today, I’m #20 on the call schedule after being #2 last night.  It wasn’t bad… I left work around 7:30p and never got called back to the hospital.  That’s a great #2 night!  A couple of days ago, I awoke with a pinched nerve along the left side of my neck and it’s incredibly uncomfortable turning my head and just doing regular tasks (i.e. making the bed).  Right now, I wreak of Bengay and I’m partially comforted with some Aleve.  Hot compress, you are next!  Sometimes, it’s really nice to enjoy a lazy morning with zero agenda other than to catch up on life and maybe even do some self reflection.

A buddy of mine sent me this article and asked me my thoughts….

How Many Children Should You Have?

I gave it a once over and thought, this is interested.  A small sample size of various parents from various geographical regions all commenting on their children.  Their is italicized because it seems like commenting on what the perfect number of children to have is so personal and completely unique to their experience.

It’s a heavy duty article with a lot of good perspective. I kind of agree with them all. I liked the one with 3 kids best… and the one with no kids the least. Since when did the purpose of procreation become about supporting the older generation? I had a tough one with that. I don’t think people have kids to look after them in old age.

What do u think?


This article came at a perfect time for me.  Bear and I just got married; we’re older… and we’re looking to start a family.  I just went on an Amazon spending spree for knowledge:

Even as an M.D., I am thirsty for knowledge in an area that I know pretty little about.  Sure, I’ve rotated on OB/GYN as a med student — but that was back in 2005.  Plus, doing two months of a rotation doesn’t equal a full understanding of mom’s body and baby’s development.  It taught me how to safely deliver a baby, but I need to know and understand the building blocks leading up to that.  Secondly, I’m an anesthesiologist who places labor epidurals for our pregnant ladies getting ready to welcome their little bundles of joy into the world.  I typically meet the moms when they are having contractions and wanting pain control and follow-up with them at delivery.  So you can see, there’s a 9 month knowledge gap that I need to fill in.

If you’re a future mom and are interested in an epidural, educate yourself on the pros and cons as well as what you expect to feel and when to ask for an epidural.

My blog post regarding OB Anesthesia

Remember, it is dependent on YOU as you are in control of your pain.  A pain scale will vary from person to person (i.e. everyone has different pain tolerances).  There’s no magical dilation number that tells you when to ask for an epidural.  Keep in mind that you will need to hold extremely still when you do ask for an epidural.  So please make it easy on your anesthesiologist (and yourself) and ask for an epidural when you are able to be as motionless as a statue — otherwise, it may be too risky to request an epidural if you are in too much pain to stay still.

 

Posted in Family, Kids, Life, Relationships, travel, Wedding

Our wedding – Feb 4, 2017

The best day ever.

Our AppyCouple wedding website

Our Wedding Pinterest Board

Our Honeyfund

 


Our Wedding Day
0052kris_ross
Bridal Veil: Mia Bella Couture
Bridesmaids: Vow to Be Chic
Cake: VG Donuts
DJ: Elite British DJ (Mick)
Rings: Brilliant Diamonds – Tacori (Ariel)
Wedding Planner: I do weddings (Melissa)
First Dance choreography:  Wedding Dance San Diego (Liz O’Grady)
Photo: True Photography (Billy)
Video: Campbellicious (KC)
0001kris_ross

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Screen Shot 2017-07-09 at 11.28.12 AM


Posted in Family, Kids, Life

Birth plan: Vaginal delivery vs. Elective C-section

Today, I’m the OB anesthesiologist on call.  Hours in the L&D OR have provided me with a “real” understanding of what is involved in a C-section (C/S).  I’ve seen countless spontaneous vaginal deliveries (SVD) including natural birth (without pain medications), deliveries with epidurals, vacuum-assisted deliveries, shoulder dystocias, postpartum hemorrhages, etc.  A lot can happen to both the mom and the baby — and it can be scary.  Someday, I’d like to have my own family, and it got me thinking about what I would like to choose for my “birth plan”.  As much emphasis is placed on this…it’s really out of your control. The idea seems nice in that you feel like you have control, but nature has a very interesting way of doing what it will do irrespective of your plans.

My Reddit comment

One of our OBs had her two children via elective C/S. Given that a C/S is major surgery, I often wondered why one would electively choose to go that route vs. vaginal delivery.  I opted to take a poll on the OB floor (nurses, docs, midwives, staff, etc.)….

The results:

  • CS decreases urinary incontinence/vaginal prolapse
  • CS offers a time/schedule/control
  • SVD seems to offer shorter hospital stay and improved breathing in the neonate
  • Personal preference

But a little research….

ACOG Committee Opinion: Cesarean Delivery by Maternal Request

I loved my elective C-section

Pros and Cons of elective c-section

Vaginal Birth vs. C-section

A gal’s account of her elective c-section

CMAJ: Planned elective c-section — a reasonable choice for some women?

Clinical Perinatology: CS vs Vaginal Delivery: Long term infant outcomes

The Guardian: Vaginal birth vs. C-Section

A Canadian gal’s account of her elective c-section

My other OB blog posts:

Posted in Family, Kids, Life

Hormone stimulation for oocyte retrieval #eggs #fertility #hormones #professional #women

I’m a professional.  

On call in the hospital
On call in the hospital

What does that even mean?  My best guess is that it means I went to school for a long time and entered a career where I get to behave professionally and interact with people.  Fast forward 18 years after graduating high school and I have a successful career in medicine doing anesthesia.  I have met some fantastic people along my journey and I’ve traveled and experienced life to the fullest.

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So why this post?

Because I’m 35 and according to the OB/GYNs…I’m AMA (advanced maternal age).  In a nutshell, it means that after the age of 35, there are significant (possibly exponential?) risks of chromosomal abnormalities with my eggs or there could be serious problems with my baby at my age.  The older I get, the more I’d like the option of having a family… and that’s whether I meet the right guy or not.

From Wikipedia (James Heilman, MD): The risk of having a Down syndrome pregnancy in relation to a mothers age.

What’s it like to undergo hormone stimulation?

Tues, March 3:  I’m currently on day #5 of injections and I still feel normal (i.e. no crazy hormonal emotions or anything; no bloating; no weird experiences, etc.). I don’t have any emotional drama; no crazy hormonal thoughts or outbursts. I actually feel pretty normal.  No bloating, no PMS, etc. I don’t know what I’m supposed to feel bc I feel just normal… like a normal day without the injections.  Now, the injections –> I’m starting to dread the 7pm hour bc these injections are starting to hurt!  I’m a pretty tough cookie… don’t be fooled by the smiling youngish face.

The meds and my mini sharps container
The meds and my mini sharps container

Fri, March 6: I’m bloated.  Cravings are starting to kick in, but maybe it’s just stress at work?  No crazy emotional stuff.

Sat, March 7: The bloating continues.  In fact, my ovaries are pretty sensitive — any big bounces in the car or if I sit down hard is painfully noticeable.  The Ganirelix stings a little bit more than the others on injection.  No big hikes or active things: no trail running, no running (period!), no elliptical, no jumping.  I’m starting my couch potato life and getting stir-crazy!  But, I did do a 7 mile flat hike today — I couldn’t help it!

Sun, March 8: The bloating continues.  I definitely feel the pull/sensitivity of both my ovaries.  Even when I empty my bladder, the pressure/tug release is definitely present.  Huge mishap today: I underestimated how much Follistim I had!  Today, I was supposed to go up on Menopur, but I didn’t have any extra, so I was told to take my standard 150 dose.  Yet, they told me to go up to 300 on Follistim today and I barely had any when I stuck the needle in! I remembered I had an extra vial with just a small amount left and injected that.  it was only 150.  3 injections in one night is no fun.

Mon, March 9: Gave myself an additional 150 follistim this morning once the pharmacy opened.  15mm follicles are looking good!  My left ovary has a ton!  The right ovary is doing alright as well.  Just waiting to get the estrogen level up.  Same bloated feeling.  No physical activity or heavy lifting.

Tues, March 10: Estrogen is finally above 1,000! Apparently after many years of birth control pills, it suppresses estrogen… on track!

Thurs, March 12: All systems go for Friday retrieval. 🙂  My last injection was this morning.  I’m incredibly happy to be done with those!  The indomethacin makes my head cloudy — not sure I like the feeling.

Fri, March 13: yes it’s Friday the 13th. But I’m not superstitious. Showed up at 6 am and proceeded with paperwork. Estrogen and progesterone levels were fantastic. Went back to the OR around 7am. A little propofol and fentanyl for my MAC case. I requested no versed. Some Toradol in the pacu to help with cramping. Had a fine relaxing day after. Took some tylenol for cramps. They retrieved 13 eggs. 6 mature ones and 5 not quite mature ones.  Wonder what we do from here. I’m still super bloated and my doc said no physical activity for 2 weeks.

Tues, March 17: The bloating is getting better.  There wasn’t much cramping or pain or spotting after the retrieval.  Maybe I am lucky?  I only took Tylenol twice since Friday.  The bloating was extremely intense Saturday, Sunday, and Monday.  I feel that it is better today.

Wed, March 18: I was thinking more about the numbers of eggs retrieved and came upon a couple of different articles and resources.  I haven’t chatted with my doc yet.

Taken from Wikipedia
Taken from Wikipedia

Here’s the replay of my series of events:

  • Wed, Jan 28: Ultrasound to assess # of follicles.  Start antibiotics (5 day z-pak).  Start taking prenatal vitamins, vitamin D, and baby aspirin daily.
  • Sun, Feb 22: Stopped birth control pills per Fertility Doc who had me start and stop these a couple of times.
  • Thursday, Feb 26: Morning blood draw and afternoon ultrasound.
  • Fri, Feb 27: Start Menopur 150IU SQ and Follistim 150 SQ @ 7-9pm
  • Sat, Feb 28: Menopur 150 IU, Follistim 150
  • Sun, Mar 1: Morning blood draw. Menopur 150, Follistim 150
  • Mon, Mar 2: Morning blood draw. Menopur 150, Follistim 200
  • Tues, Mar 3: Morning blood draw. Afternoon ultrasound. Menopur 150, Follistim 250
  • Wed, Mar 4: Morning blood draw. Menopur 150, Follistim 250
  • Thurs, Mar 5: Morning blood draw. Afternoon ultrasound. Menopur 150, Follistim 250.
  • Fri, Mar 6: Morning blood draw. Menopur 150, follistim 250.
  • Sat, Mar 7: Morning blood draw and ultrasound. AM Ganirelix start. PM Menopur 150, Follistim 275.
  • Sun, Mar 8: Morning blood draw.  Ganirelix. Menopur 150, Follistim 300 (but I only injected 150 bc I ran out!).
  • Mon, Mar 9: Morning blood draw and ultrasound.  Ganirelix, Follistim 150.  Menopur 150, Follistim 300.
  • Tues, Mar 10: Morning blood draw and ultrasound. Ganirelix. Menopur 150, Follistim 275 (ugh! i ran out again!).
  • Wed, Mar 11: Morning blood draw and ultrasound.  Ganirelix. Indomethacin 50 tid. Lupron 0.8ml @19:30. Pregnyl 1000U IM.
  • Thurs, Mar 12: Lupron @ 7:30a. Morning blood draw. Indomethacin tid. NPO after 10pm.
  • Fri, Mar 13: Oocyte retrieval @ 7:00a. Doxycycline 100 bid.  No heavy lifting (>10 lbs for a couple of days — better yet I was told two weeks!).
  • Sat, Mar 14:  Doxycycline 100 bid.  Restart baby aspirin, prenatal vitamins.
  • Sun, Mar 15:  Doxycycline 100 bid.  Baby aspirin, prenatal vitamins.
  • Mon, Mar 16:  Doxycycline 100 bid.  Baby aspirin, prenatal vitamins.
  • Tues, Mar 17:  Doxycycline 100 bid.  Baby aspirin, prenatal vitamins.
  • Wed, Mar 18:  Doxycycline 100 bid.  Baby aspirin, prenatal vitamins.
  • Thurs, Mar 19: Could this be my first normal day??? Holy cow!
  • Fri, Mar 27:  They said they got 13 eggs… but they didn’t tell me 6 were mature and 3 were intermediate. When i had my initial consultation… i told her i wanted 2-4 kids possible.  If i assume wcs (worst case scenario), which i should in this case… that would mean at best only 1 or 2 kids.  I was completely deflated. so i am going to do a second round.  it’s not what i want to do, but it’s my best chance.  She thinks it’s bc i’ve been on bc pill for so long, so i can’t take those from now until my next go.  She’s aiming for July 2015.  She saw plenty of follicles (which is good)…. but my hormones had been suppressed so long bc of the bc pill.  I’m sad bc i have to do this again…. and it was hard enough the first time.
  • In this whole process, I met a wonderful man. We are looking at doing embryos for a higher success rate.
  • Mon, July 13: Prolactin level is 38 on re-draw from fri. 😀 that is normally where I hang out. We decided no repeat MRI (I had been getting them annually for 5 years after surgery to assess growth — I think last was 2010). No growth with drawing prolactin at those times as well as checking for visual field defects annually still. All points to good signs. She’s going to reach out to my endocrinologist and I’m going to get back on bromocriptine (to make my prolactin normal). I wanted to normalize prolactin first before getting on an estrogen stimulating med (that can grow the old prolactinoma). So… I also told her about you and that we’re looking at a possibility of embryos instead of just eggs. She felt very positive about that bc she said I had plenty of follicles and that would ultimately a higher success rate. And she also knows about my prior long use of birth control pills for regulating periods (bc of prolactinoma). All of this points to a good sign that things are normalizing and we have a plan. She said she’d like to see me on bromocriptine for about 3months and would be getting another prolactin draw 6mo after starting that med.

When I was a kid and had to get immunized, my dad used to tell me “don’t be a chicken shit.”  And I wasn’t.  When I was 4, I vividly remember putting my arm out voluntarily when I had to get a shot.  What’s more odd, is that at the tender age of 4, I would watch the needle placement into my arm and not look away.  It was single-handedly one of the best lessons my dad ever taught me.  Face your fears directly.  So, my present-day self is perhaps a bit more squeamish giving my own shots into my abdomen.  The injections are given subcutaneously, which means that it goes into the fat layer below the skin but above the muscle.

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Why Am I Doing This?

I wanted to preserve my fertility and not feel so rushed to find “Mr. Right For Me.”  To be honest, I never thought I would be taking this journey… let alone by myself.  I always envisioned being with the love of my life and starting a family once I achieved my career.  But nature and the biological clock don’t stop.  That’s life.  So I’m making the best of my situation and hoping to preserve my future and share it with someone who will explore and share this journey of life with me.

Because in the end, happiness deserves to be shared.

Another gal’s journey and exploration


Updated Nov 1, 2015 from the NEJM

Teaching Topic
Cryopreservation of Oocytes
CLINICAL PRACTICE

G.L. Schattman

CME Exam   Full Text Audio  Comments

In the United States, more than 100,000 women of reproductive age receive a diagnosis of cancer each year, and they are at risk for diminished reproductive potential or infertility as a result of treatment. The freezing of oocytes has become a clinically viable option for women who wish to have a child in the future but are facing either an age-related or iatrogenic decrease in the quality and quantity of oocytes.

Clinical Pearls
Clinical Pearl  What is currently the preferred method for cryopreservation of oocytes?

The large size and high water content of oocytes make the formation of ice crystals and subsequent cell injury or death difficult to avoid during the cooling process. Vitrification has replaced the slow-freeze method as the method of choice for cryopreserving oocytes, since it minimizes ice-crystal formation and results in higher rates of cell survival, fertilization, embryo development, and pregnancy. As compared with the slow-freeze method, vitrification involves exposure of oocytes to relatively higher concentrations of cryoprotectants for a shorter duration, followed by ultrarapid cooling either through direct immersion into liquid nitrogen (in so-called open systems) or with the use of small, volume-sealed straws (in closed systems). Once vitrified, the cells can be stored indefinitely in liquid nitrogen.

Clinical Pearl  Is there an association between cryopreservation of oocytes and subsequent congenital abnormalities?

Oocyte cryopreservation by means of slow freezing or vitrification has not been shown to increase the incidence of aneuploidy or congenital abnormalities in children, although long-term studies involving large numbers of births resulting from thawed oocytes are still lacking. Collection of data on long-term outcomes by the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology is under way.

Morning Report Questions
Q. What factors are central to the likelihood of achieving a live birth using cryopreserved oocytes?

A. In determining the probability of achieving a live birth with the use of cryopreserved oocytes, the two most critical factors are the woman’s age at oocyte collection and the total number of oocytes available. Rates of embryo implantation decline as women age, owing to increased embryo aneuploidy; this risk applies also to cryopreserved oocytes obtained from older women. Whether cryopreservation further damages the oocyte beyond the normal age-related decrease in oocyte quality is unknown. In a prospective study evaluating the efficiency of oocyte vitrification, the proportion of vitrified oocytes that resulted in a live birth was 8.2% (12.1 oocytes per live birth) in women 30 to 36 years of age and 3.3% (29.6 oocytes per live birth) in women 36 to 39 years of age. In a multicenter observational study that assessed predictors of outcome when oocytes were vitrified, the live-birth rate decreased by 7% for every year of increase in the age of the woman. For every additional mature oocyte, the delivery rate increased by 8%.

Q. What are the guidelines of the relevant professional societies concerning oocyte cryopreservation?

A. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine suggests that oocyte vitrification and warming should be recommended to women facing infertility due to chemotherapy or other gonadotoxic therapies. The American Society of Clinical Oncology recommends that “even if women are ambivalent” about having children, they should be referred to a reproductive endocrinologist. However, the guidelines of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine also recommend caution regarding the use of oocyte vitrification to circumvent the effects of age on the reproductive potential of healthy women. These guidelines specifically state that “ . . . there are no data to support the safety, efficacy, ethics, emotional risks and cost-effectiveness of oocyte cryopreservation for this indication.”

Table 1. Reasons to Consider Cryopreservation of Oocytes.


ROUND 2

Cycle day 1- Call doc to schedule a BASE US and blood draw for cycle day 3.
Begin checking for ovulation surge with ovulation predictor kit on cycle day 8.

Call me when the surge is positive.

o Doc will make me a calendar when I surge that maps out the rest of my cycle

6 days post surge you will begin taking Estrace for about 2-3 weeks

After Estrace course you will begin stimulation with Menopur and Follistim again or Menopur and Clomid

Stimulation takes approx 10 days

Retrieval two days later

Posted in Family, Kids, Life, Relationships

Relationship advice from professionals #relationships #marriage #family

Curiosity has always been a driving factor for my learning.  Lately, I’ve been curious about what makes relationships thrive.   Around the holidays, people always seem so happy and connected and together.  This led me to lookup various TED talks (thanks Google search) on the subject matter.  I’m intrigued by others’ relationships — and not just romantically.  A friend of mine shared some interesting pearls on the progression from dating, committed relationship, marriage, to kids and the dynamics/changes that occur through each of these phases.  I just want to know what other people’s experiences are through this journey.  What my search revealed…

The homework:

  1. The Secret to Desire in a Long-term Relationship
  2. Love Isn’t All You Need: 3 Relationship Building Reads
  3. How We Love
    1. Can you use algorithms to find love?
    2. What happens to our brain when we’re in love
    3. Are we asking too much of our spouses?
    4. What makes siblings bond?
    5. A father-daughter dance – in prison?
  4. Talks That Just Might Save Your Relationship
    1. Love, you’re doing it all wrong
    2. The power of vulnerability
    3. How to speak so that people want to listen
    4. Why we love, why we cheat
    5. Dare to disagree
    6. What you don’t know about marriage
  5. In The Mood For Love
    1. The brain in love
    2. Love letters to strangers
    3. Love, no matter what
    4. Love is a loaded pistol
    5. The myth of the gay agenda
    6. Aliens, love — where are they?
    7. How the internet enables intimacy
    8. For men: understanding her desires
  6. Sex: Can We Talk?
    1. 10 things you didn’t know about orgasm
    2. It’s time for “the talk”
    3. Selling condoms in the Congo
    4. Sex, drugs, and HIV
    5. Religions and babies
    6. The beautiful tricks of flowers
    7. A little-told talk of sex and sensuality

Where to Find Love


4 Most Common Relationship Problems and How to Fix Them

  1. The 4 things that kill relationships: Criticism, Defensiveness, Contempt and Stonewalling.
  2. The 3 things that prevent them: Know your partner, respond positively to “bids”, and admire your partner.
  3. The best predictor of relationship success is how you and your partner tell your “story of us.”
  4. The beginning of the conversation is crucial. Negativity compounds. Keep a cool head and resist emotional inertia.

How Texting Changes From Dating to Marriage


Time: How to Have a Great Relationship – 5 New Secrets From Research

  1. According to your own brain, love is right up there with cocaine and cash. And it can last if you treat it right.
  2. Want to be attractive? Make yourself look good, emphasize similarities, and let the person know you’re picky — but that you do like them.
  3. A great first date is something that creates excitement and energy. Share things about yourself and respond positively when your partner does.
  4. Relationships often fail because of individual issues, not because of a bad match. Resolve difficulties as soon as you can; they don’t strengthen relationships, they cripple them.
  5. Improve your relationship by dealing with your personal issues, doing exciting things together, celebrating your partner’s successes and showing gratitude.

My Thoughts:

  1. There’s a lot of meat here.  Very insightful.  I will probably listen to these several times… not just today but throughout the years.  I love her definition and timing of foreplay.  Waxing and waning desire — it’s not spontaneous…but erotic couples know how to resurrect this desire.  
  2. This summarizes three books that I’m intrigued to pickup and read.  
  3. Several talks on Love
    1. A numbers game.  It’s up to us to make a relationship — it takes work.  Technology cannot solve relationships.  It takes human capital…. human work.
    2. Couples’ and sex therapist.  See #1.
    3. Non-sexual, non-romantic love.  Family love.  Parents and favoritism.  I wish someone would go into more depth between spouses and siblings.  I had a great talk with another friend of mine who has a twin sibling.  This has got to be one of the closest bonds ever known.  Yet, he was telling me the difficulty of introducing someone to his sister and how that can sometimes add jealousy, loss of priority, etc. between the siblings.  I don’t think one needs to make a black and white choice — I think siblings and spouses can co-exist…in fact, they should.  Perhaps a better working is the prioritization of spouse to sibling.  I don’t know what that entails…I have no siblings.  However, I have not had any problems introducing any of my significant others to my family without worry of priorities or jealousy.  I think it’s a natural progression in life to introduce an SO to your family and be able to make that individual a priority without having massive panic attacks or arguments.  Yet, I’m still trying to wrap my head around why there would be such sibling rivalry without introduction of SOs.  Does anyone know of a study on this?
    4. 43 years of marriage!  Whoa!  The important roles of fathers in daughters’ lives.
  4. Talks That Just Might Save Your Relationship
    1. Honesty Authenticity Integrity Love.  
    2. This one was humorous!!  Find good in everything!  Men doing chores around the house –> women desire them more –> men become nicer.  Positive good cycle.  

At least this was a good start… there’s so much to learn.  I’ve digested this small piece of information, and I have come to the conclusion that relationships need positivity, communication, consideration, honesty, dependence, independence, desire, and cooperation/teamwork.  But, these were things I knew.  From this information, I think both people involved have to be open and receptive to the other’s needs.  How does the positivity loop get started?  A kind gesture, a sweet compliment, a flirtatious look, a warm touch… all of these are positive vibes to make your partner feel loved.  This in turn generates positive feelings and prompts positive outward energy of love.  

So, why are so many people unhappy if these elements seem so simple?