I Hit “Advanced Maternal Age” at Midnight

Omgosh. As the clock struck midnight on my birthday, I was officially “advanced maternal age”. Or, I would be, if I were pregnant.

&*!$)%!

Thirty-five.

I have been infertile. I have been in “spontaneous abortion”. I have adopted. I have been in a high-risk pregnancy. I have been pregnant with twins. I have been bedrest-ed. I have been C-section-ed. I have been on death’s door. But I’ve never been advanced maternal age before.

We hope for more children. We have been married for twelve years. We have three children, but none of them were created in my body. (One was created in someone else’s body; two were simultaneously created in Petri dishes.) All three of them belong in our home and in our arms.

Facing many of those issues when I was still in my 20s was … well, difficult. And important. It shines a light on the fact that I am now thirty-freaking-five. I don’t mind the number. I don’t mind the laugh lines. I don’t mind the squishy belly. But I do mind the fertility consequences of being 35.

We don’t know if we will be blessed with more children. We do know that I now would be in a completely different category if we were to attempt any more fertility treatments. We probably won’t, though, since 15 rounds is probably more than enough for a lifetime. We do know that egg quality goes down in a straight line from the age of 21 in a healthy female. We do know that endometriosis gets worse with time. We do know that the chances of conceiving a baby in any 35-year-old body decrease sharply.

If I couldn’t get pregnant in my twenties, the likelihood of getting pregnant when I am of “advanced maternal age” is ridiculous.

all three at sink

I am happy with my three boys. I am (finally) no longer sad each month when I realize I am not pregnant. However, I have the nagging feeling that someone is missing. I don’t know if that is from our miscarriage(s), or if there is really a soul out there who is trying to come to our family.

I can live contently with my three boys, even though I once wanted eight children! I am not always the best mother. I get terrible headaches. I am not always patient. I am stretched very thin. I am sometimes anxious and I am always tired and my neck always hurts. Nevertheless, I feel another soul out there.

Does she know I am of “advanced maternal age”?

 

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This post was originally written as members-only content for Beyond Infertility, a website about parenting after infertility. I am regular contributor to their website.

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My Lunapads Interview was Posted!

The Lunapads company interviewed me and posted it on their website! As a “successful ambassador”, they interviewed me first. Not that I’m bragging or anything… Okay, yes I am bragging. But the real praise goes to all my readers! Thank you!! Without you, I wouldn’t have anything to brag about.  Here’s the interview:

“Meet the Lunapads Ambassadors: Melissa

We started our Lunapads Brand Ambassador Program over a year ago and are so grateful for the fabulous ambassadors we have all over Canada and the US spreading our mission and sharing our products with their communities. We started the program to nurture the special relationship we have with our customers and to support them in creating a community around them to hold space for body positivity, self-love, personal growth, and social change.

Here is an interview with one of our inspiring Ambassadors: Melissa!

1) How did you find Lunapads?

I found Lunapads just through a search engine. About five years ago, my fertility doctor had suggested that I quit using tampons, due to my endometriosis, and I was very unhappy about switching to pads. They felt disgusting and I was having a terrible time adjusting to them. Somehow, I came across the Lunapads website and I was in awe. I had never heard about anything like that, ever (and I’m a fairly “crunchy” person)! I immediately ordered a few to try them out.

2) What is your first experience with cloth pads?

I convinced a friend to try them with me, so we both ordered our first reusable pads together and compared notes for those first few periods where we were learning to use them. I found them to be “bunchy” at first, because I was used to relying on the adhesive of the disposable pads to hold them down. My friend reminded me that this wouldn’t be the same, but that it would still work. Having that person to talk to really helped. We gave each other ideas about how to handle and launder the pads.

3) Why did you want to become a Lunapads Ambassador?

I was so excited when Lunapads launched this program! I have always wanted to share the idea of reusable pads with others, because I personally believe that they have helped my health. However, I had no idea how to share that kind of information! I didn’t know how to broach the subject with my circle of mom-friends, and I certainly didn’t want to post things about my period on my Facebook wall for my dad, grandpa and uncles to see!

Besides helping me to share something that I feel passionately about, I felt that this Ambassador program was perfect for me because it wasn’t a sales job, but there was the potential to earn money. There was only the smallest initial payment on the kit I had to buy – but if things didn’t work out, then I figured I would simply add the kit to my personal collection of pads.

As a stay-at-home mom of three toddlers (adoption + IVF twins), my funds and my time are precious resources. I have very little spare time or money, so this program was perfect for me.

4) How do you share Lunapads with your network/community?

I have three ways I have shared so far:

a) I have a mommy blog (www.okayestmomblog.com) with over 2500 followers so far, so I made a page there specifically for my Lunapads thoughts. The page is titled, “Girls Only”, and I post blog articles to it every once in a while. I always add my personal Lunapads code to the bottom of each article so people remember to buy under my code!

b) I started a Facebook group where I link my blog posts, share Lunapads news (like free shipping!), and invite and encourage questions and complaints.

c) I threw a party! The key for me was to *not* throw a Lunapads party, because I didn’t think people would actually come. What I did was throw a “Ladies’ Night Out/ 80s Movie Party” one night after the kids went to bed. I invited all of my momma friends to come over after they put their kids to bed and watch an 80s movie on my projector in the basement and eat junk food. I wanted to make it something that I would actually want to attend. I warned them that I would talk about my Lunapads for five minutes beforehand. “Five minutes, I promise!” I had my kit ready, as well as some handouts I made, with my blog address on it and my Lunapads code. I had a great turnout. The women who came had completely different questions when they were handling the pads in person than they typically do when they ask questions online. It was really fun to do a face-to-face! I plan to do another one in the near future, because who doesn’t like 80s movies and junk food?

5) What would you say to a new Lunapads Ambassador to encourage or support them?

First, congrats! You are a smart person to do this program, because you can’t lose! I would say, be sure to use both the internet and personal interaction to the best of your ability. Both avenues are excellent for different reasons. And please share with the rest of us if you find something that works!

I would also add a word of caution: we need to be very sensitive when talking to others about periods. There are many reasons the people you talk to may not be experiencing periods: hormonal problems, previous illnesses or cancers, hysterectomies, infertility, pregnancy, nursing, menopause, and so on. Some of these reasons could be a source of sadness. I try to promote Lunapads with all that in mind. I tackle the angle of using Lunapads pantyliners for discharge, since most women of all ages and situations can experience that! Also, I try to encourage women to share this information with their teenage daughters and granddaughters.

Also, as an LDS (Mormon), I promote the “preparedness” angle. I have a year’s supply of food storage in the house, as well as a 72-hour kit for each member of my family. I think Lunapads should be a part of every preparedness kit and home storage. In a zombie apocalypse, would you seriously be able to get to the store for disposable pads?! (Just kidding. Kind of. Mormons don’t believe in a zombie apocalypse.)

6) Is there a particular story or experience you’ve had as a Lunapads Ambassador that is special to you, or has impacted you in some way?

I have heard many happy exclamations from first-timers, most of which are some variation of, “Wow, it feels like I’m wearing pajamas instead of a trash bag!” However, my all-time favorite story was quite touching. A friend of mine, who does not get her period due to medical issues, works as a hospice nurse. She shared my Lunapads information with one of her patients’ families, and they purchased some for the elderly woman. This poor woman was on hospice and was allergic to the disposable incontinence products they had been putting on her. Now she is resting comfortably on cozy flannel Lunapads. It really choked me up. This product can help many people in many phases of life.”

 

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You can find the original article here. Reposted with permission from Lunapads Blog: Periods, Politics & Personalities.

The views expressed here are my own and are not necessarily those of the Lunapads company. I am not a doctor and do not offer medical advice.

You can read more about my partnership with Lunapads and my personal love of cloth menstrual pads.

I do not sell Lunapads, but I promote them and receive a straight percentage of any sales I refer. If you would like to purchase Lunapads yourself, please use MY code 515013 for 5% off your total purchase (and, let’s be honest, to give me my kickback!).

 

 

[Girls Only Please] My Personal Lunapads Story

LunapadsWhy I do I use reusable cloth menstrual pads, you may ask? Well, let me tell you!

It started when my fertility doctor suggested that, because of my endometriosis, I stop wearing tampons. (Keep in mind that this was just one doctor’s opinion.) He believed that tampons could exacerbate the symptoms of endometriosis for several reasons. First, we don’t know what causes endometriosis, and adding the chemicals from tampons might not be a good idea. Tampons have some pretty controversial (i.e., toxic) chemicals in them. Second, endometriosis comes with painful cramps, so using my muscles down there to hold in a tampon might worsen the cramps. I had never thought about it before.

Ok, I thought, what do I do now? I had used tampons since I was about 14. Pads were gross and they were for babies. I reluctantly re-taught myself how to use pads. I hated them. It was gross, stinky, uncomfortable, and sweaty. Somehow, I came across the Lunapads site. I had never heard of reusable pads. For the cost of several months’ worth of disposable pads, I got enough reusable pads to last indefinitely.

They were super cute! I loved them. Suddenly, my period seemed a little more fun and a little less gross. They were so cozy. It was a little weird getting used to the whole thing, but I felt weirdly happy about it all. They were a little bulkier, but I got used to it. Now, when I have to wear a disposable pad or a tampon for some reason, I am pretty grouchy.

The Lunapads come in different sizes, shapes, absorbencies, patterns, and colors. Later, after I really got into this way of doing things, I tried the Lunapanties, which are padded underwear that can hold reusable pad inserts. Now I think all underwear should be slightly padded. Come on, let’s be honest, women are messy! The Lunapads company also sell reusable Diva Cups, which are an alternative to tampons.

When my first son arrived (via adoption: no postpartum bleeding from him), I continued to use the Lunapads. I switched to cloth diapers for my son for a little while, and, I must say, reusable pads are WAY easier than cloth diapers. And cloth diapers aren’t too bad, really, but they do have toxic poop on them. At least your Lunapads won’t have that fate. If you use cloth diapers on your child, why on earth wouldn’t you consider cloth pads for yourself?

When my twins arrived a couple of years later (via my body), I had ten weeks of postpartum bleeding. Ten weeks! While these soft flannel pads are much kinder to a postpartum body than disposable pads, I have to admit that particular time in my life was too upside-down for laundry. Unfortunately, I mostly fell off the reusable wagon for a while. Now that things have calmed down a little, I am now (happily) back in the reusable pad saddle.

And my health? I truly believe that quitting tampons has been good for my health. I am not a doctor, and this is *not* medical advice for you, but in my personal down-there life, reusable pads have helped me. I find that my symptoms of endometriosis are more manageable with Lunapads. Just as the doctor predicted, my cramps are somewhat lighter without the tampons. Additionally, I find that I am getting fewer urinary tract infections since I ditched all disposables. It might be a coincidence, but I don’t think so!

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I have never used my blog to sell promote something before, but I have been so excited about these things for so long and never knew how to talk to people about them. I finally have my chance. If you want to try them, please use the discount code below, which is linked to ME, and I will get a little kickback from the company for referring you. Win-win. If you are unsure if you want to try them, and you’re local to me, I have UNUSED, NEW samples of the products that I can show you.

What do you think? Would you ever consider reusable pads? Why or why not? I’m curious! I am happy to answer any questions you have!

Enter this code at checkout for 5% off: 515013

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Fine Print:

-I am not a salesperson. I do not sell any products, and I am not trying to get anyone else to sell any products. However, I am an official “Lunapads Ambassador”, which means that I promote their products. I do receive a straight percentage of each purchase I refer.

-My views expressed here are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of the Lunapads company.

-I am not a doctor and I do not offer medical advice for anyone else’s body other than my own.