Today's post is going to be a little bit different than usual, as I want to delve into a topic that effects all of us WAY before potty training, WAY before we birth our babies and for some of us, WAY before the moment of conception even. In this post I am going to share my personal journey of infertility with you, and how we were able to conceive and birth two beautiful babies totally naturally. At the end, I will be posting a link to Gabriela Rosa's new book, Fertility Breakthrough: Overcoming infertility and recurrent miscarriage when other treatments have failed, which she has generously offered FREE to my readers and social media followers .
They say that 1 in 8 women experience infertility. It sure didn't feel that way to me. I was 27 years old when we started trying for a baby and I looked around at my friends, neighbours, and large extended family and it appeared to me that I was the only one whose family wasn't growing when I hoped and planned it to. Perhaps it wasn't true, but when no one is talking about their difficulties, it sure feels that way.
We had been trying for about a year when we had our first appointment at the fertility clinic in 2010. I had been tracking my menstrual cycle and arrived at the appointment with a few months of charts, hopeful that they could see what was wrong with me by looking at my basal body temperature readings. My husband's sperm was fine, they said. The Hysterosalpingogram showed that my fallopian tubes were clear. As for my charts? "We don't look at those" they said.
I was told that they could start me on Clomid right away, and if that didn't work in a couple of months, I could start injectable drugs and they could book me in for IVF. I told them that I wasn't ready for all that, I was looking for answers. I told the doctor that we were going for acupuncture weekly, and had been taking Chinese herbal medicine. He said the acupuncture might help but that the Chinese herbs would do nothing. He wished me luck and told me to come back in 6 months if we weren't pregnant by then.
How disappointing. How discouraging! Was there really nothing I could do? I was a healthy 28 year old. I ate well, did light exercise (walking, biking, yoga), I had stopped drinking alcohol. I had been taking prenatal vitamins for over a year, and the tests available to us showed us that nothing was wrong! I started seeing a naturopath and taking more supplements. I found a doctor who was willing to order more bloodwork to check my hormone levels, I cut my work hours in half. I started doing more yoga and learning to meditate. By some miracle, after 2 years of trying, we finally became pregnant. My pregnancy was absolute perfection, I had never felt so healthy, fit and beautiful. My daughter was born into water the day after her due date in 2012.
I felt at that time like I had finally cracked the code. I knew just what to do to achieve pregnancy and now my body was on my side. I thought it would be easier next time.
When she was 18 months old, my period finally returned and we started trying for another baby right away. By this I mean I also started yoga again, found a new naturopath, went back to acupuncture, started fertility massage and started tracking my cycle, on top of timing intercourse to the fertile part of my cycle each month. 6 months passed, then a year. Infertility was consuming my life. Every time I tried to talk about it, or even think about it, I would start to cry. I read books and blogs.
We went back to the fertility clinic, hoping for a better experience. His sperm was still fine, my tubes were still open, our trouble making a baby was still "unexplained". This time, I consented to starting Clomid and made an appointment for an IUI (intrauterine insemination). I was sure that this would work.
The Clomid made my cycle super short. I had to wait for the next one to do the IUI. After the next month of Clomid I went for the insemination. The doctor doing the procedure was not my usual doctor, but he seemed alright. First he did an ultrasound on my abdomen, and at that time discovered that I had a bunch of cycts on my ovaries. He pretty much freaked out (and completely freaked me out), going on and on about all the different kinds of huge cycts I had and cancelled my IUI right there, while I was laying on the table. I was devastated. I had previously booked an acupuncture appointment for after the procedure (to have the best chance of implantation), so I went to my appointment and sobbed into my acupuncturist's embrace.
Long story short, the only other option they gave me was to start ovulation stimulation via injectable drugs. Drugs that have potential side effects of blindness, or death. Another side effect is the chance of multiples... twins OR MORE. I already had 1 child and was no longer naive to the work, sleeplessness and selflessness that parenthood required. I didn't want more than one more baby and I didn't want to die in the process. Hopelessness set in.
It had been 3 years since we started trying for a second baby. I was certain I had tried everything but those dangerous drugs and pretty much lost hope. Then I learned about and readily signed up for a 4-week fertility yoga workshop being offered in my city the next month, November. At the class I met 5 other women going through infertility. We talked and cried. I hadn't realized how much I needed to talk about it, and to feel supported by other women who were going through it too. At that class I met a new friend, and a month later, she introduced me to Gabriela Rosa's Fertility Breakthrough program.
My first intro was a podcast where Gabriela Rosa talked about "minor factors" that can lead to infertility. Things like weight, age, diet, and stress. In a nutshell, each of these minor factors that you and your partner might have add up to a more and more difficult time conceiving a baby. It was a lightbulb moment. Perhaps she held the key to getting to the bottom of all this. Thankfully, the next "Gabriela Rosa Fertility Challenge" was only a few weeks away.
After over 3 years of secondary infertility, you guys.... I kid you not, we were pregnant 3 months after starting the challenge. Gabriela's program is difficult, for most of us it requires huge shifts in our lifestyle, diet, and thinking. Even though I thought, going into the challenge, that I was already doing everything possible to become pregnant, I learned SO MUCH from her and her team. But the best part? The absolute BEST part was that my husband and I worked on this diligently TOGETHER. This healthy baby we wanted to make was bigger than our cravings, addictions, bad habits and bad patterns. Over the preceding 3 years, I was the one making the changes, doing the research and starting to resent him because I felt like he didn't care as much as I did. And that his habits were standing the way of conceiving our baby. Standing together in this let all that resentment melt away, and our love to grow, every day that we stuck to our plan, together.
The rest is history, I suppose. Our Natural Fertility Breakthrough baby is little Alek, our blond curly haired now-2-year old who, those of you who are familiar with my blog and social media will know well. He was born in December 2017.
So... that is our story of challenge and eventual triumph. Certainly not everyone will become pregnant as quickly as we did after starting the challenge, but one look at Gabriella's track record and you will see that most of the clients working with her do, eventually, Her new book, Fertility Breakthrough: Overcoming infertility and recurrent miscarriage when other treatments have failed, is going to change lives. And get this... Gabriela Rosa has offered to give my readers a FREE paperback copy, mailed right to your door. All you have to do is click on the link to her book here, fill in your details, enter in my unique coupon code at checkout: nfbdanielle and hit "Apply Coupon". Even your shipping is included!
This is a fertility revolution ladies. No more will we let ourselves be poked and prodded with no hope, no answers. No more will we be pressured to use drugs unnecessarily, or be ridiculed for taking our time and trying "alternative" answers. No more will we spend every last dime we have on procedures that have an incredibly low success rate. Nor will we allow ourselves to believe that lifestyle changes won't make a difference to our outcomes.
Click the link between today and February 7, 2020 to claim your copy. If you are not in need of fertility help, please forward a link to this blog post to any friends or family who you know may benefit from it. If you are reading this post after the 7 day window has closed, I urge you to consider supporting Natural Fertility Breakthrough and purchasing a copy for yourself through their website. And, take part in the next fertility challenge, of course!
Here are a couple of handy Pinterest images too!
Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the links below and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for your support.
Thinking about potty-training? Curious about EC? Not sure how to start or whether your child is ready, or whether you have the time? Ahhhhhh!!!! So much to consider. Right? Well, worry no more, Wee Potty is here for you. And today I would like to share some of the best books that can help you on your journey. Some educational, some instructive, plus some of the best board books to get your child in the mood for “potty time”.
Elimination Communication Books
Potty Training Books
Do you have any favourite potty training books at home? Let me know in the comments.
Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you click on the links below and make a purchase, I will receive a small commission, at no extra cost to you. Thank you so much for your support.
Ah... mid-summer. For many families, this time of year provides the perfect opportunity to help their child break-free of the diaper habit for good. However, when potty-training isn't going very well, this time of year can become a count-down to fall and all of the changes that season brings. For some, potty-training is essential for starting pre-school, or parents might be going back to work and will no longer have as much time to commit to EC or potty training. For families dealing with poop challenges - from fear and anxiety of using a toilet to poop, to daily or weekly accidents, to chronic withholding that can lead to serious health issues - the stakes at this time of year can be very high indeed.
The road to going from poop-in-the-potty resistance to confidence is often not easy, and typically requires a week or two of vigilance on the part of parents or daytime caregivers. There may be tears, desperate attempts to get away, even violent outbursts on the part of the child, but it is essential for parents to approach this behaviour with complete empathy and understanding.
Tip 1: Get Closer
Work on re-building your relationship with your child. When potty training doesn’t come easily, there is always frustration, its natural! But when this frustration goes on for weeks and months it can definitely cause a rift to develop between parent (or caregiver) and child. So first its essential to reduce the drama and frustration surrounding the issue before beginning the process again. If you have been using rewards, stop immediately and instead find ways to connect with your child whether it’s a game of tag around the house, or a trip to the ice cream shop or swimming pool. These types of activities may have been used as bribes or rewards for potty training in the past so this time make sure there are no strings attached.
Physical, rough play and laughter can be a great way for parents and kids to connect, but can also help to dispel fear and release tension. Any type of wrestling, pillow fights etc… can give your child the positive parental time and attention that they crave while also acting as a safe way to release their worries. Additionally, during playtime the parent should allow the child to exert some control over the parent, so that the child does not feel dominated. Games where the child is stronger, faster and/or smarter will have them laughing their worries away.
Books can also help to increase understanding, add an element of humour and normalize pooping on the potty. Look for books that are appropriate to the age and attention-span of your child. Some of the books we love include What is Poo?, Everyone Poops, and Toot.
Tip 2: Think About Food
Consider your child’s diet and how this could be contributing to potty training issues. If your child is sometimes constipated, fiber is often the first thing parents attempt to increase in their child’s diet. And while fiber is important, too much can actually contribute to the production of too much stool, which is not very helpful in this situation.
It is however, very important to ensure that your child is adequately hydrated, as well as ensuring that they have a good amount of healthy fats in their diet. Healthy fats include avocado (think of it fresh on toast or guacamole), coconut (shredded, or coconut milk in a smoothie, overnight oats or soup) and oils like coconut, avocado, olive and butter. Try the recipes in my free download, Toddler Approved Recipes for Constipation Relief.
There are certain foods that you may also want to avoid if constipation is a recurrent issue including green (unripe) bananas and dairy products.
Tip 3: Go Cold Turkey
At a certain point diapers (or pull-ups, which are still diapers!) act like a security blanket, especially for kids who are over 30 months of age. Pooping outside of a diaper feels WAYYYYYY different that pooping in one, and since its probably the only place that your child has pooped in the last few years, its important to understand what a huge change this is for them. Though as parents, at a certain point we might decide that our child pooping in a diaper is no longer acceptable; the poops are larger, maybe smellier, we think our kids must be developing the same aversion to it as we are. But guess what? Most kids don’t care at all. The diaper is the only toilet they have ever known and a very convenient one at that! They are used to the feeling and the smell, and overall the part they start hating the most is probably getting changed and cleaned-up! Very inconvenient for parents who start to resent these clean-up battles.
If your child seems afraid, or just unwilling to sit on the potty to poop, it is so, so tempting to hand them a pull-up and let them go in the place where they feel most comfortable. But unfortunately, the diaper habit is a hard one to break, and handing them a diaper each time is not going to resolve this issue. It can in fact make them even more resistant in the future when they are older and even more set in their ways.
On the other-hand, taking away the diapers completely can lead to a child just pooping in their undies or even withholding poop until they are given a diaper to poop in at nap or night-time. So what is a parent to do?
2 things actually… first, you have to say no to diapers, all day and all night. Second, you need to make catching poops your main life-goal for a few days. Watch for signals, the typical times of day that your child poops or places they tend to retreat to. When you see the signal, take your child into the bathroom and wait it out, giving them all of the empathy and love you can muster, but see it through. For most kids, once you get 3-5 poops in the potty, a new habit is being formed, and their fear of pooping has subsided.
For many parents, following these 3 tips will be enough to solve the poop problem. If you require a more personalized approach, or you feel that your child may not follow typical withholding behaviour, please contact me for a consultation. Sometimes poop withholding and accidents are a sign of a medical condition that needs to be monitored by your family doctor, and cannot be corrected by simple food changes and non-coercive techniques. Watch for a future blog post that will outline the signs to be on the lookout for.
Let me know... did your child struggle with getting poops in the potty? Which tips or techniques helped them to get over their hesitation and regularly use the toilet or potty for poop?
This was a big month for us as we finally gave up diapers for good! It wasn't always perfect, but it also wasn't potty training. (Spoiler alert: It was way better and more fun!!)
5 1/2 years ago when my daughter was 17 1/2 months old, I decided to stop using diapers. We used a non-coercive potty training method, and it took a couple of weeks. 5 days for her to make any progress at all, and another week or so of practice and a couple of big embarrassing public accidents (but I know better now... or do I?). Potty training wasn't awful, but it was difficult. And scary too, I can remember being totally freaked out about her going diaper-free at nap time. Not to mention leaving the house.
With my son we started EC months earlier than we did with my daughter, and I was a lot more consistent with it. Overall, it went much smoother and I am much better at giving him MORE independence as the months go on, even if we were still having a lot of misses, I always worked on giving him the opportunity to do it himself and reduced my use of diapers at home more and more for the last few months.
It went down like this... April 1st we took our first outing without a diaper back-up. Alek was wearing a cloth training pant (like padded underwear) with a Tiny Ups waterproof shell over, just in case. From that point I tried to use diapers less and less on outings, but would always reach for the Tiny Ups or Wool Pants over padded undies, just in case of a public accident, or one in his car seat. May 2nd we had our first accident-free day - well for pees anyway, since poop misses were a daily, if not twice daily incident! The day after that, I was feeling very brave and we travelled 30 minutes outside of the city to a farm for a family homesteading workshop. As usual, Alek fell asleep on the way there, and when we arrived he was groggy so I did not put him on the potty right away. It was also freezing cold when we arrived, so I started bundling everyone up, only to realize that he was still not wearing a diaper. By the time I tried to potty him, he was already wet and I perceived that in that cold there was just no way to continue with training pants that day. Pulling out a disposable diaper at that moment was one of the best decisions I have ever made!
After a very cold morning outside, we went indoors for lunch. I took him to the bathroom where he peed, and then we sat down to eat. At some point during the meal, Alek pooped but my friend and I who were sitting with him the entire time saw no sign of it and, despite being surrounded by people (or maybe because of it) he did not signal in any way. After we ate, I smelled something in his pants and took him to the bathroom. But what I found was THE MOST EPIC POOP EVER. I had not seen a poop of that size or consistency since he was much younger. It was very, very close to exploding up the back and out the leg cuffs. All I could think of was, thank goodness I switched to a diaper!!! Can you even imagine a poop like that in underwear?!?!
It is possible that he has a mild illness that day because honestly, that poop. But also, I have noticed that he almost never poops when we are out-and-about so it was very surprising. Overall though, he was rarely singling for pee or poop and yet, we were getting fewer and fewer accidents each day overall.
Mother's day weekend, my sister invited us out to her in-laws cabin in the woods. Since things were going well, I decided to make it a diaper-free weekend, but used wool pants and the Tiny Ups just in case. The only diapers used all weekend were 1) At night-time and 2) On the 1.5 hr. car rides. I was thankful for the car diapers because on both the trip there and back, Alek slept most of the time but woke, upset, with about 20 minutes to go before reaching our destination. Big pees in his diaper both times! The weekend was a huge success otherwise, I don't think there was an accident during the day otherwise. Yeah!!!
About a week before Alek turned 17 months, I realized that we had stopped using diapers at all (daytime). I was still using a waterproof/resistant back-up most of the time, but started relying on those less and less also. In addition, Alek started staying consistently dry in his diapers all night. Wet pants would still happen most days, but pretty much always at home, when I am more distracted. Things are getting better and better and I am excited to share out update next month!
Interested in learning more about EC and early-start potty training? Check-out these great books which are available in my shop.
Hi! I'm Danielle, your friendly neighbourhood potty specialist.