#TriToConceive with Josh!

From Josh:

390040_738537463337_235816598_nFor many of you following our blog, you have read numerous pieces written by my sisters, and many less from me. As I outlined in my initial blog post, I struggled to find topics to discuss as 27-year-old male who did not have kids, or haven’t attempted to conceive with my wife. I no doubt had a passion to help spread the word and help bring encouragement to families who are struggling with infertility; I just didn’t believe that my writing was the most effective vehicle to do just that. I brainstormed for many hours hoping to find a way to connect with people more effectively and a way that brings attention to a cause that is frequently lacking a male voice.
Before I get deeper into this article, a little background will be needed. In December of 2007, my father was diagnosed with prostate cancer, the same cancer that took the life of my grandfather 20 years prior. This became an impactful moment not only in my life, but my entire family. As we gathered in support, our entire family began taking part in a local Indianapolis 5K that raised funds to support men dealing with prostate cancer. Little did we know that doing a 5K as a family would create a spark in all of us to live a healthier lifestyle, and push our bodies to the limit. Shortly after my father’s diagnosis, he underwent a successful surgery to remove the cancer. He remains cancer free to this day. However, we have never stopped running.
In effort to blend these two passions together, I have decided to embark on a journey that I will document for you all over the coming weeks and months. I could not think of a better week to make this announcement than National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW). This week we honor those dealing with fertility issues for NIAW, and gather to support a common cause.
To do my part in raising awareness for families dealing with infertility, I will be competing in an Olympic Triathlon later this summer (my first Olympic distance). My goal is not to win or run my personal bests, it’s about carrying a torch for a cause that is rarely mentioned my men. I hope this journey helps inspire men to open up about the emotional effects of infertility, and create a new dialog. It is also to honor and support those who have battled, or are currently battling the physical and emotional turmoil that infertility causes. #YouAreNotAlone.
During my training, please follow my progress on Facebook, and Twitter @keytoconcieve, or search #TriToConceive as I will bring you weekly updates, as well as the stories of those who I am running for.
I look forward to hearing from all of you over the next few months.
#TriToConceive

Run Your Way to Support NVM!

NVM 5kOne of our non-profit partners, Nehemiah Vision Ministries, will be hosting at 5k run/walk to benefit the organization’s mission of helping the people of Haiti. The race will take place on July 19 at the Northview Carmel Campus. Race starts at 8 a.m. Register for the race at http://www.nvm.org.

If you’re not going to be around for the run/walk or live out of town but still want to help NVM, check out the Crowd Rise page. www.crowdrise.com/nehemiahvision

Tax Credit Promo

moneyHoping for your own tax credit in 2014? Let ToConceive help you achieve your pregnancy dreams. With tax season upon us, we know you’ve paid your fair share to Uncle Sam and so we want to cut you a break by offering $15 off any 1-bottle offer of ToConceive. Enter promo code save15off1 at checkout to receive $15 off!

Dad’s Diet Just as Important as Mom’s

Everyone talks about how it’s important for a TTC or pregnant woman to have a well-rounded diet. Studies now show that what dad eats can have a big effect on the baby as well. McGill University conducted a study that found a man’s diet has a direct effect on the health and development of a baby. The study concentrated on a man’s folate level (also called B9) and found that babies sired by a man with low folate levels had a 30 percent higher chance of birth defects. You can read about the whole study here.

So, what can men do to up their folate levels? They should increase their intake of folic acid. This can be done through a vitamin supplement or daily multivitamin. Men can also choose foods high in folic acid. Here are some excellent sources of folic acid to incorporate into your diet to increase folate levels:spinach

–Beans and legumes like lentils, pinto beans, garbanzo beans, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans and lima beans

–Leafy, green veggies like spinach, collard greens, turnip greens, broccoli and asparagus

–Citrus fruits and juices

Pre-Pregnancy Bucket List

Saying that a baby changes everything is pretty obvious, just ask any parent! A recent article on Celeb Baby Laundry  talked about 8 things you should do before getting pregnant. It was a pretty good list, talking about a number of important areas of your life to evaluate before you embark on the adventure of parenthood. Some of the high points:

1). Get a pre-pregnancy checkup

2). Get your finances in line

3). Talk with your partner

4). Start saving

Couple Using Digital Camera in Front of Eiffel TowerAlong the same line, I’ve come up with my own light-hearted pre-pregnancy bucket list. My list is a compilation of things my hubby and I did do before we had kids and some of it is what I wish I would have done.

1). Travel…go to as many places as you can. While traveling when you have kids is possible, it’s so much harder…lining up sitters, missing their sweet faces, etc.

2). Go on lots of dates…long gone will be the days when you can just up and go to dinner without paying out the nose for a sitter.

3). Pick up a hobby…if you don’t already have one, find something just for you. Once a baby comes, you feel like you lose part of your identity, so having a hobby that’s just for you will help you keep your sanity.

4). Strengthen your relationship…trying to keep another human being alive will consume both of you. If you go into having a baby with a strong relationship, it will be better for you both and especially for the baby.

If you’re thinking about having a baby, check off your own bucket list, then check out ToConceive to help increase your chances of conception each month!

Keeping the Romance While TTC

Between charting basal body temperatures, checking cervical mucus and timing intercourse, for many couples trying to conceive, all forms of romance can go right out the bedroom window. Couples struggling to conceive often find that sex becomes a chore or another to-do to check off the list, which can further impede their chances of conceiving.

ToConceive, created by an award-winning gynecologist, helps a woman create her own natural conception lubrication to increase pleasure and the chances of conceiving. The product not only makes sexual intercourse more pleasurable for a woman, but also promotes sperm capacitation, essential for conception. Couples using ToConceive can enjoy sex for conception, while at the same time increasing a woman’s own natural conception lubrication.

How does something so seemingly natural and fun turn into such hard work in the first place? The Infertility Unit of Ferrara University studied a sample of 60 infertile and 52 fertile couples and found that the infertile couples showed a decrease in sexual satisfaction, impaired sexual arousal, lubrication deficiencies and lack of orgasm. As the study states, “as far as infertility is concerned, sexual intercourse can lose its spontaneity because it is aimed at ‘baby-making’ and it is strictly restricted to ‘fertile’ days.”

Having sex on a schedule can be emotionally stressful for both couples, especially for male partners, who feel progressively degraded to the role of “sperm donors”. For women, hormone medication can produce certain side effects that affect their sexual behavior and desire to have sex.

romanceAs the study concludes, infertile women have decreased sexual arousal and lubrication, both of which are necessary for the conception process. The so-called “decay of pleasure” leads to a vicious cycle for infertile couples, who only see sex as a chore. “Sexuality can be therefore deprived of its recreative and erotic value and subordinated to the direct goal of pregnancy,” states the Ferrara study.

Even celebrities like Michael Buble and his wife Luisana Lopilato admit that sex to conceive wasn’t sexy. Buble spoke candidly in an interview on the Graham Norton Show, telling the host that sex became very unsexy because it had to be done on a schedule.

All kinds of advice exists online on how to enjoy sex while trying to get pregnant, including numerous sex tips for when you’re trying to conceive. Tips range from taking your time, sticking to a routine, utilizing all five senses and changing positions.

Even the co-founder of PayPal, Max Levchin, has developed an app for the iPhone that helps a woman track her ovulation, notifying her of her most fertile periods and offering advice like what type of lingerie to wear when trying to conceive.

Whether you buy new lingerie, light a few candles or take a romantic getaway to mix up the babymaking, ToConceive can counteract many of the unwanted sexual side effects of infertility, such as a lack of lubrication. Using ToConceive not only makes conception easier, it can make the experience more enjoyable too.

Mommy-guilt

It comes in all forms and now I am learning that it comes in all stages of life: Mommy-guilt! When my first son was a baby it reared it’s ugly head when I didn’t spend enough time working on “tummy-time.” When I had my second child it came in the form of feeling guilty that she didn’t get as much attention as the first. When I had my third child it came all the time and still appears now and then (he just turned 3 and still only has a few pages complete in his baby book).  Just a visit to the pediatrician for a well check up is enough to store up guilt for months. Reminders to read to your children everyday, make sure they get at least 60 minutes of exercise, limit screen time, count fruit and vegetable servings to ensure they are getting enough. Have they been taking vitamins regularly? Do they have a healthy social life? (And this doesn’t even include feeling guilty every time a chore takes away valuable time from the kids). Most of these I am pretty good about on any given day, but then I could compare myself to other mothers and find something they are doing better than me to feel guilty about. I have come to the conclusion that there is just no way around it. So, what can I do to help relieve the mommy-guilt when it comes crashing in? I can take a look at the most important things and give myself grace on those that are not so important.stay-at-home-mom

A quick search on Google easily brings up advice from numerous sources about the most important things kids need to have a successful life. Although there are variations the top needs are all the same. Security. Stability. Love. Encouragement. Education. So when the mommy-guilt creeps in because I fed my children non-organic chips and hotdogs for lunch and I didn’t sign them up for the new art class in town, I ask myself this question: Are my priorities in order? Do my children feel secure in our home and at school? Do they know Mom and Dad love them unconditionally and want what is best for them? Do they get praise and encouragement on a daily basis? Do they learn something new every day (or so)? If any of the answers to these questions are not a resounding YES!, then I do need to reprioritize. However, if they are in order, there may be some things I can do to improve but the guilt needs to stop because my children would much rather me be smiling and enjoying them than worrying about how I am doing as a mother.

Guilt can also occur before you become a mom as a result of issues with fertility. If you are struggling with any stage of infertility please check out our website, http://www.keytoconceive.com to see how we can help!

Lunch Box Notes

images-7My baby started 2nd grade today! What? How is that possible? Regardless, that is where we are and I’m thankful for everyday. I do however dread packing lunches. It is just one of those things I do not enjoy doing everyday. In addition to trying to provide a nutritious and pleasing midday meal for my son, I also write a little note in his lunch box. By the end of the year my once creative sayings turn into “have a great day” everyday. I was just looking last night for a little lunch box love inspiration and stumbled across a blog on pinterest with a list of great things to write.

http://www.southyourmouth.com/2012/08/lunchbox-notes.html

I have also thought of playing games with the notes, such as writing clues each day that lead to a reveal of some sort on Friday. For example:

Monday- Everyday this week you will get a clue that will help you guess who is going to visit you for lunch Friday. This person shares one name with you.

Tuesday- This person enjoys riding on two wheels.

Wednesday- This person drives a gold- colored car.

Thursday- This person gives you candy when mommy isn’t looking.

Friday- I hope you enjoyed your lunch with Pop-pop!

There is no limit to the creativity you could use each day to make your child’s lunch a special time.

Friday

Uniforms in Public Schools

Since my son started kindergarten I have said I was going to write letters to our school district campaigning for uniforms in hopes that by the time my children reach middle school they are in place. Of course I haven’t done that yet, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to get myself motivated.  I would like to look at the research that has been done and see what advantages, besides my own personal motivation, there are to having uniforms in public schools.  I would love to hear from others who have had experiences with uniforms in public schools to see if there really is a difference in those places as opposed to schools with little dress code.

From  NYPost

From NYPost

To The Fort Thomas Independent School Distirct

To Whom It May Concern:

My husband and I carefully chose Fort Thomas as our home because of many reasons, but the top-rated school district was on top of the list. We have already been thrilled with the district and fully expect our children to receive a wonderful education and experience! There is one area that we would like to express concern for the future and hope that you will at the very least consider our recommendation.

At home we teach our children to dress modestly, to try and look their best for the specific task they are given and to wear clothing that is appropriate for that specific circumstance. Amoung other reasons, we believe uniforms would be helpful to encourage more appropriate dress across the board. Over the past few years we have seen a drastic decline in the clothing choices of young people in our nation- in modesty, neatness and appropriateness. Seeing the declining trend, we are concerned for the types of clothing that will be allowed by the time our children reach high school. We also feel that uniforms would help reduce the pressure for students who cannot afford the latest fashion and help set an atmosphere for learning rather than trend-setting.

We understand there are concerns over students individuality and cost to families, but if done right, we feel these concerns are small in comparison to the benefits of wearing uniforms-even in public schools. According to a study done in 2010, 19% of public schools across the country have gone to uniforms (http://www.sfgate.com/food/bargainbites/2011/map/article/School-Uniforms-Pros-and-Cons-4619310.php). Would our district ever consider this?

Thank you for hearing our concerns and for your consideration,

Matt and Krissy Richard

What Not to Say to a Couple TTC

Seems like Murphy’s Law that whenever people see a pregnant woman, they feel like they can say anything they want, good or bad. However, good manners dictate that we should never ask “how far along are you?” unless we’re absolutely sure she’s pregnant. We know not to tell a pregnant woman she looks huge and “are you sure there aren’t twins in there?”

Pregnancy silloutteThe same rules can apply to couples trying to conceive. The TTC process is very emotional and insensitive comments can do a lot of damage to the psyche of the couple. Recently, the Huffington Post published an article on the 5 things to never say to a friend trying to conceive. Even with good intentions, words can really hurt.

Here’s a several of the five from the Huffington Post:

“Everything happens for a reason.”

Suggesting someone’s infertility is part of “the grand plan” or that “everything happens for a reason” will only reinforce negative feelings they may already have, making them feel even worse.

“You know a friend of mine was trying, then poof!”

Try not to tell stories of someone else who was TTC who then suddenly got pregnant. When a TTC person or couple hears these anecdotes, the sting of “what’s wrong with me?” hurts even more.

Other comments to avoid include:

“Just stop stressing and it will just happen.”

Obviously, not being able to conceive is stressful and telling someone to not stress is not productive because they will inevitably stress about it.

“It will happen when it happens.”

Time is the enemy for couples TTC, so using time logic won’t help.

“Just enjoy this time as a couple.”

If a couple is TTC, they are ready to be parents and while spending extra time as just the 2 of them may be great, it doesn’t fill the void of a baby in their lives.

So, what should you say?

Tell them you support them in whatever decisions they make (surrogacy, adoption, IVF, etc), that you’ll keep them in thought and prayer and offer them a listening ear for venting. Be positive, supportive and patient.

To read the article in its entirety, visit http://www.huffingtonpost.com/the-mommy-docs/5-things-to-never-say-to-a-friend-trying-to-conceive_b_3443976.html