Today is November 17th, World Prematurity Day.  According to the March of Dimes, 15 million babies are born prematurely around the world each year.  More babies die from prematurity than from AIDS, malaria or diarrhea.  Each year in the United States, 1 in 9 babies—about 450,000—are born prematurely.  Prematurity is defined as birth that occurs prior to 37 weeks gestation.

I take World Prematurity Day personally.  I have two preemies.  My daughter was born at 26 weeks and almost died again 26 years ago today from sepsis.  There were many surgeries, terrible fears, PTSD, and many, many sleepless night.  Finally, unbelievably, my preemie came home to be our real live baby after 100 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Preemies aren’t just small babies and they don’t look like little dolls.  As you can see, my daughter looked like a science project.  I learned a lifetime’s worth of medical terminology.  I became what I call a Clinical Mommy.  I learned to read medical charts and consult with physicians and nurses as an equal.  Bringing my girly into my life changed it in ways I am still learning about. It changed my career and the calling of my life.  For my infertility clients who want twins, I promise you that you don’t want two desperately sick preemies.  Or even one.

To those who are preemie parents, or those of you who know someone who is, thank goodness for the Internet! For parents of preemies up to age 4, check out Preemie-L, a wonderful listserve of helpful preemie parents.  For parents of preemies over the age of 4, check out Preemie Child.

Now I’ll share with you the gift that I was given when my daughter was impossibly small and fragile.  Someone showed me a picture of their healthy preemie.  The message was “Watch your baby.  Babies grow.  Have hope.”  So I share this today with preemies, their parents, their friends, and their loved one.  Watch your Baby. Babies Grow.  Have Hope. 

 

Jenny's first day


jennyhappyhalloweenbirthday

 


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I am writing this blog post on the day after the 2016 election. Many are attempting to understand the mystery of the unexplained. The unexplainable unexpected. Living in the no word zone. Mystery defies reason. The difficulty with the unexplained is that there are no ready answers, right now, when you need them.

Many of you live with the unexplained every day. There are no answers for the infertility diagnosis that you live with. Your baby has died unexpectedly and nothing makes sense about anything. You or someone you love is diagnosed with cancer.  In the spirit of offering balance and healing, I offer 5 tips for living with the mystery of the unexplained:

  1. Bathe yourself in compassion and love. Have it for yourself.  You hurt.  You are confused and frightened.  Love this person.  And offer it to others, even if you are not sure you have it for yourself.  We have been doing a lot of hugging today at Partners in Healing of Minneapolis, colleagues and clients. Connect with others from your best place.  I don’t have words for that right now but you will know what it is for you.
  2. Allow yourself to grieve before you look for answers and options.  There will be some clarity about something at some point.  For now, mourn your loss but hold on to your dreams.  Let the world stop spinning for a few minutes and just mourn.
  3.  Acknowledge your fears.  Actually, acknowledge all of your feelings, whatever they are.  It may help to express your fears to those you trust.  However, be selective about who you express your fears and other feelings to.  Look for comfort from people that you trust. Avoid people, for now, who either bring more questions or no empathy. This is not the time to hope that “that person” will come around and give you what you need. You don’t need to be pooh-poohed, or fixed, or pitied, or “adviced” by others.  Just ask them to listen.  If that’s not possible, thank them and move on to someone who can just connect with you.
  4. Gently release the idea of control. Really.  The mystery of the unexplained is just beyond your and my control.  Just ride the wave of unexplainable stuff while keeping your head above water.  Ride the roller coaster with your seatbelt attached tight and hold on. You’re not sure where you are going yet.  Just hold on to yourself. It’s okay to turn off social media and the news. You do have control about that.  And your reactions to what you come across.  I understand that your reactions may not always be pretty.
  5. Understand, truly, that the sun comes out every day and that every day is an opportunity to find something new. Sometimes that new thing will be painful. Sometimes that thing will be to learn to be still, just to explore the feelings and thoughts you have. Sometimes the answer will arrive in the most unexpected way or the most unexpected person. Always, always, look to love and compassion for your answers.

Love to you all, always,  Debbie


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Infertility takes over your life.  How can you get to the clinic before your big presentation today? Is today ovulation day?  Did you do your injection at the right time in the right dosage?  Will your spouse be home from the work trip in time to give a semen sample? How many BBB’s (Big Bellies and Babies) are you going to see at the grocery today?  How many blogs can you read today about infertility?  How sick of infertility are you?

Infertility takes over your mind, too.  It is very hard not to think about.  I bet you know what day of the cycle you are on.  I remember how confused and angry I was every month when I wasn’t ovulating but my doctor kept pooh-poohing my concerns and my intuition.  I could not stop thinking about it, only to be told that I was obsessing, not to worry, and to relax.

I know what you are going through.  I am sorry that you hurt and you are scared that the hurt won’t ever end.

Until that moment when the pregnancy test is positive.

No way!

Could this be happening?

Do another few tests at home.  They are still positive!  What does this mean?! Everybody says that you should feel happy about a positive result, right?

Not when you have been trying for months or years.

When you have been in the infertility trenches and you are now pregnant, you are in what I call a

Prove It Pregnancy

Yes, that’s right.  A Prove It Pregnancy.  Yeah, yeah, other people stay pregnant and have babies. Could that be possible?

Infertility tells you, “Hold on there, honey. This can’t possibly work out well.”  It’s the Too Good To Be True Factor.  But this could be real.  Truly.  Really.

When you get pregnant after months—or years—of undergoing fertility treatment, there is shock, disbelief, and excitement.  Shhhhhh!  Don’t jinx it!  That first ultrasound can scare the jeepers out of you.  But it might be real.  You may not really believe it until the next ultrasound.  Maybe not.  Maybe later.  Am I pregnant?  Prove it.

Transferring your care from the fertility clinic to an OB/GYN or midwife care can be disorienting and even frightening.  This means that your pregnancy is continuing, despite your fear.  Can this really be happening?  Yes.  I know that you may have had a close relationship with the fertility clinic doctors and nurses.  You can learn to trust a clinic that can help you deliver a baby.

Really?!  Yes.  It is possible.

And there may come a time when you consider investing in the pregnancy and a baby, but fear still may remain.  Superstition is normal in a Prove It Pregnancy.  Others want to invest in baby stuff.  No. Thanks.  Maybe. Later.  It is okay to put things off.

As one gentleman recently said to me, “I may think about investing in the pregnancy when we get to 26 or 27 weeks.  When it seems real.”  And a woman I know thought it might be okay to peek at Pinterest.  Sure.  For just a moment.  And honestly, it may not seem real until a baby is warm and squawking in your arms.  That’s okay.

 

It’s a Prove It Pregnancy.   

 

 


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Today, November 17th, is World Prematurity Day.  According to the March of Dimes, 15 million babies are born prematurely around the world each year.  More babies die from prematurity than from AIDS, malaria or diarrhea.  Each year in the United States, 1 in 9 babies–about 450,000–are born prematurely.  Prematurity is defined as birth that occurs prior to 37 weeks gestation.

World Prematurity Day is personal for me–I have two preemies.  My daughter was born at 26 weeks.  We thought that we would lose her on her second day of life.  She almost died again 26 years ago today from sepsis but she rallied.  There were surgeries, terrible fears, PTSD, and finally, unbelievably, a day when she came home to be our baby after 100 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU).

Preemies aren’t just small babies and they don’t look like little dolls.  As you can see, my daughter looked like a science project.  I learned a lifetime’s worth of medical terminology.  Bringing my girly into my life changed it in ways I am still learning about. For my infertility clients who want twins, I promise you that you don’t want two desperately sick preemies.

To those who are preemie parents, or those of you who know someone who is, thank goodness for the Internet! For parents of preemies up to age 4, check out Preemie-L, a wonderful listserve of helpful preemie parents.  For parents of preemies over the age of 4, check out Preemie Child.

Now I’ll share with you the gift that I was given when my daughter was impossibly small and fragile.  Someone showed me a picture of their healthy preemie.  The message was “Babies grow.  Have hope.”  So I share this today with preemies, their parents, their friends, and their loved one.  Babies Grow.  Have Hope. 

 

JennyLamb

 


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Pregnancy losses include a number of difficult experiences, including infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, premature delivery, unexpected fetal anomaly, and birth trauma, among others.   I approach pregnancy losses and bereavement comprehensively.

Some losses result in death.  Other losses feel like a death.  Some losses are symbolic.  When a woman is told that she will need infertility treatment, or that her baby has an anomaly, she is experiencing profound loss.   Often people experience more than one type of loss in their reproductive lives.  This can also include complications in pregnancy or trauma during labor and delivery.

You do not “get over” a pregnancy loss, but you can integrate the experience into what is hopefully a long and happy life.  Telling your reproductive story is a must for healing.  Too often people are afraid to tell their story out of embarrassment, or fear of burdening others, or because others minimize or deny the physical and emotional pain caused by reproductive losses.  This can lead to isolation, resentment, and depression.  It is insufficient to say that loss is difficult, as each person and each couple experiences loss differently.

I actively elicit your reproductive story and provide hope for healing and transformation.  With you (and your partner, whenever possible) we will explore:

  • Gender issues
  • Psychological make-up
  • Childhood trauma
  • Medical trauma history
  • Family history and dynamics
  • Belief systems
  • Social environment
  • Spiritual beliefs
  • Resilience factors

I listen to my patients’ unique situations and partner with them in developing the most appropriate treatment plan.  Many of my patients have found healing and new purpose. I collaborate actively with physicians, nurses, acupuncturists, and other health care professionals across the Twin Cities and around the country to ensure that healing is complete and that hope can spring anew for family building in the future.  I am available for professional consultation, as well.  Compassion and clinical know-how can ensure a variety of good outcomes including parenthood, better relationships, and self-compassion. Come see me when you are ready.

 


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Father’s Day can be challenging for men on the infertility journey or after a miscarriage or stillbirth.  Being a father in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) with a struggling preemie isn’t the beautiful day you have hoped for, either.  On this Father’s day, I wish love and hope for all fathers to be.  You matter in the family building journey.    


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