Fertility Update

Hayden at 2 weeks. How is he about to start PRE-School?

Hayden at 2 weeks. How is he about to start PRE-School?

Hey ya’ll, it’s been a while since I discussed anything about fertility in your 40s, specifically my fertility journey. After reading comments in my post HERE, and the post HERE, I learned a lot about some of YOU that are in a similar boat. I have been thinking about you all, wondering how it’s going??

As most of you know, I started using the ovulation sticks (that I talked about HERE). That was/is helpful for sure, but I know it takes more time at my age.  I read from several of you that took fertility medications successfully.

I asked my doctor about clomid. I took that for three months in a row, along with a hGC shot before ovulation. And….nothing. 

I went back and looked at the comments here on the blog and one of you actually mentioned Letrozole, also called Femara. It was in the back of my brain…then, last month I decided to have a consultation with a specialist. She was very thorough and honest, reticently hopeful. She brought up Femara and a light bulb went off from reading it on the comments from one of you on this blog. So, I switched to that for a month.

Another one of you recommended IT STARTS WITH THE EGG by Rebecca Fett. I had never heard of it before. The book has a ton of good information (and you don’t just have to take our word for it, check out the reviews). It helps keep me feeling proactive, which is extremely helpful. There is a lot of info packed in this book, so my one bit of advice would be not to let it stress you out. It’s an excellent guide. Plenty of info on what the male counterpart can do to help improve sperm quality, too. (Not always easy to get your partner to comply, but worth a try!).

The book has a great guide for all the vitamins and supplements out there that can be helpful for both the male and the female.

I’ve received such good advice from you all. Anything else you can pass along, I’d be so grateful!

And if you are on this road, I’m hoping to read positive notes in the comments!

xoxo

AAJ



Lady In Waiting: the two week wait

If you’ve come here to this post and don’t know what I’m referring to, my guess is it won’t be that interesting of a read for you. If BBT reminds you of Big Bang Theory and not TTC, this post wasn’t written for you! (Unless you’re a man and your wife is going through this… might be beneficial? Just saying. lol)

I’m talking about the journey of trying to conceive. The time between ovulation and celebration. Or disappointment….sometimes devastation. 

It doesn’t start that way… the first, say, several months are so promising and exciting! You’ve made the decision to have a baby! The adrenaline from just that process can carry you for a few months. But some point, that adrenaline wains and you want to see results. Maybe you were just “trying to see what happens.” But now find yourself clocking your cycle in apps or consulting doctors, doing bloodwork, getting ultrasounds, acupuncture, taking herbs, taking medications, taking your BBT (basal body temperature)… etc.

This photo was 3 years ago at our little make shift photo shoot when I was pregnant with Hayden.

This photo was 3 years ago at our little make shift photo shoot when I was pregnant with Hayden.

For those of you that have never gone through this arduous process for one reason or another, it most likely seems foreign and possibly crazy. Perhaps you conceived your children easily, or adopted, or chose not to have children. Some of you tried for a long time to get their miracle baby, or came to terms with not having biological children.   

When I was 38, I got the feeling from doctors that I was going to have trouble conceiving. I thought it would take me a very long time. I was almost mentally prepared for the process to take  6-12 months. But, it happened quickly. We were blessed. 

This time around has been different. Yes, I know I’m older , so there’s that issue. I try not to put pressure on us or myself, but I know  it must be there. The pressure, I mean. I posted on instagram right at the new year talking about using an ovulation test. I started using those because the first several months of trying, nothing was happening for me.  After consulting with a doctor, I was told to track my cycle. I got hyped up and excited thinking it would work miracles within months, like it does for many couples.

This is when it starts to get difficult. I discussed the topic in this post here. I got some great advice in the comments last time I posted about this, so I wanted to continue being open about fertility. I found an acupuncturist. It’s not cheap and the herbs taste terrible and you’re suppose to de-stress, change your diet and have frequents sessions with the acupuncturist. It’s just one step that some women take during this process. I also am taking a break from hot yoga (that I LOVE) because you’re not suppose to do that right now. I should be going to regular yoga, but I don’t like it as much. I appreciate those of you that commented and shared your experiences. I instantly felt less alone and more supported. For those of you wondering, there’s a decently large group of us out there around their 40s wanting to conceive as naturally as possible, or any way possible. 

How many of you are in or have recently been in this two week waiting period time and time again? (I can’t help but laugh at this phrase. It gives “lady in waiting” a whole new meaning.) I want to run to the store and get pregnancy tests but my doctor says it’s too early and would only create more stress for me to think that way. I just need to be patient. UGHHHH. And my question is: do you feel supported? How are you getting through it? Do you go on forums or have people to talk to? Of course we have our DH (dear husbands in the TCC community) or partner that may or may not totally understanding. I’m also TRYING to remember that I need to be supportive of my husband during this time, too. So, I’m learning it’s unfair of me to expect him to understand this emotionally charged time. I try not to vent too much or stress out to him about this topic (hence my venting here— wondering if he gets this far in the post-lol). Of course, Joel and I are in this  together. It’s our family. Our triumphs. And our stress. That strengthens us. (eventually;) 

Stripes. Sunshine. And a Sprinkle.

striped /blue and white dresses
ashleyajones.JPG

Forgive my cheesy titles. Sometimes I sound like I'm a kindergarten teacher. Oh well...  The "s" theme in the title is appropriate. I have to share some of my favorite striped fashion for the season (and I WAS in the sunshine at my girlfriend Ali Fedotowsky's sprinkle for her second baby!). 

I'll start by saying Ali's shower was adorable with a "blue jean baby boy" theme. If you followed along on the stories, you saw the gorgeous flowers and place settings. Plus, it was kinda cloudy the day before, so the sun literally came out and shined on Baby Manno for the sprinkle. Awww. I'm sure Ali will share more on her blog soon, too. I'll let you know.

Ali/Sprinkle

I wanted to wear something theme-oriented, but also something that I just felt comfortable in, too. I picked this blue and white striped fit and flare dress. The exact one is sold out now, so I linked a similar dress in a different shade of blue. For a reference point, I'm in a size 2 in this dress. It's not the most affordable piece I've worn, but I know I'll wear it a lot. This is one of those dresses that works in your 20s and even in your 60s. I'm not kidding! There's always a cute white cardigan to add (the one highlighted is $20!- white or  blue)... If you're looking for something that would work for day events or early evening-- bridal showers, baby showers, concerts, graduations, summer parties, etc.... I just love the classic combination of blue and white.

My girlfriend Willa Ford also had on stripes. I must say, she was the sexier version of stripes! And also on point with the trends right now. I'm loving the cut out, bit of skin here and there. 

SeeingStripes
group shot sprinkle

And of course, Ali looked beautiful. And no, she really doesn't have a name yet for Baby Manno. But, we all chimed in! And Miss Molly danced out on the beach.  What a doll. She and Hayden are slightly obsessed with each other. And I'm slightly obsessed with Ali's dress! I found the the print in a few other styles, too... take a peek below.

beach shot
Stripes/redshoes

 

 

I walked Oscar when I returned home. Joel snapped this picture kinda tongue-and-cheek making fun of me. But, I'm glad because it shows my favorite red flats. I actually wore them the day before, too. You've probably heard me talk about Rothy's. I love that I can wear them to the beach, then wash them when I get home (I air dry them afterward, but you can also "fluff" on delicate).   

 

I'm not quite done with this post, but I'm gonna publish it to go up for now anyway. I have a few more things to add (like I'm kinda into Willa's sunglasses... anyone else wanna know how to get a pair!?)... so stay tuned, I'll return later. Gotta few appointments today.  xoxo

 

HANGING OUT SAFARI STYLE: nursery talk

The Italian Magazine,  DiPiu,  featured a sweet story about Hayden when he was only a little over 2 weeks. His nursery was barely finished, but we had some of the basics up. Boy, that time was nutty... no sleep is an understatement. 

The Italian Magazine, DiPiu, featured a sweet story about Hayden when he was only a little over 2 weeks. His nursery was barely finished, but we had some of the basics up. Boy, that time was nutty... no sleep is an understatement. 

Hi there! I'm finally putting up some little shots of Hayden's nursery. Time just keeps going and life keeps happening. So much so that we may already be moving soon. No one is more excited than Huck, my "4 and three-quarters" stepson. He's been patiently waiting for HIS OWN ROOM. (Although he did tell me last night that he is going to miss sharing a room with Hayden so much that he may NOT want his own room!). Anyhow, before we actually make it to a new spot, I wanted to share how we split the (tiny) space into a nursery and room for Huck. We just took more photos of the whole room that I will be sharing soon, but here's a sneak peak! Oh and by the way, this used to be my dressing room! My, how times have changed.

When I need to clean up the boys' room, sometimes I bring his   4Moms highchair   in there and let him commiserate with his "friends!" He loves being more eye level with   the giraffe  . And he loves being higher up in general, so we get a lot of use out of this chair. And I enjoy the sleek look. 

When I need to clean up the boys' room, sometimes I bring his 4Moms highchair in there and let him commiserate with his "friends!" He loves being more eye level with the giraffe. And he loves being higher up in general, so we get a lot of use out of this chair. And I enjoy the sleek look. 

There is kind of a theme going on here... the best we could do! The theme started in Home Goods shopping with Kaley while I was pregnant! Lemme explain something about my girlfriend Kaley Cuoco...she is decisive. So, the fact that I hadn't come up with a theme for the baby shower or a nursery was not good. In Home Goods, she found a brass elephant statue and said, "Why not do a elephant/animal theme?" I liked the idea, but couldn't visualize it. Once I started searching online stores, I realized I could create a space that had an element of sophistication that would appeal to a baby and my stepson. Kaley ran with the idea for the baby shower! And so the safari theme began. 


I'm excited to do a more detailed post about the room once the recent pictures come in. But, I can say the safari theme worked well for both kids. My mom stepped in and helped me tie it all together. She is blessed with an incredible eye and imagination. She found whimsical, fun additions, like the Noah's ark, safari themed mobile over Hayden's crib. Huck is obsessed with the oversized stuffed animals...Mr. Giraffe! And Hayden wakes up talking to giraffe often. You can surprise your kids or brighten up your nursery for under $100 with this stunner. Read the amazon reviews! People love this guy! Here are some snaps I grabbed two months back. (Now, the crib mattress has to be ALL the way down due to Hayden's height!) 

I'm loving how this   handmade mobile   adds a pop of color to Hayden's nursery. And his grandmom gave it to him! It's the sweetest thing to see him watch it turn. He coos and talks to the little animals wearing his ridiculously soft little   animal/safari print onesie  ! ha! 

I'm loving how this handmade mobile adds a pop of color to Hayden's nursery. And his grandmom gave it to him! It's the sweetest thing to see him watch it turn. He coos and talks to the little animals wearing his ridiculously soft little animal/safari print onesie! ha! 

The oversized elephantsare an affordable, fun addition and so soft. And to add an element of sophisticated whimsy, my mom added the paper mache animal heads. Huck thinks they are "the coolest things ever." The decorative wall animals* worked well to tie in a nursery with a preschooler's room. If I keep going, I'll spoil the pictures that are coming next week, so I'll stop here. 

Do any of you remember coming up with a theme for your child's nursery? It's not always easy! Especially if they are sharing a room, right? I've missed hanging out here on the blog...between family and work, it's been a while. How is everyone?

xoxoAshley

*not exact item as shown in nursery pictures, but similar item found.

Body After Baby

I have to thank Soap Opera Digest for their latest interview where Mara Levinsky got me talking about body after baby (on stands now- with a blurb on the cover!). I haven't written much about this topic because in no way do I feel like an expert. However, I think it's good to talk about the reality of life and getting in shape after having a baby. Or the reality of what it takes to get in better shape for anyone: discipline and work. The article goes in depth about the things that I didn't expect, the struggles and the joys of postparatum. Let me know what you think!

This photoshoot was two weeks after giving birth, right before I went back to shoot GENERAL HOSPITAL. I was EXHAUSTED and emotional and elated simultaneously. 

I took long walks several times a week and kept as active as my energy level allowed during the pregnancy, trying not to gain unnecessary weight. Hayden got fairly big toward the end (I wrote this post after the baby shower, and this post was three days before I gave birth). I admit, I was lucky I initially lost some of the pounds I gained, but it started to creep back. I had to eat more to keep breastfeeding and wasn't working out enough. The struggle to get back in the same shape I was in pre-pregnancy has been real for me. I haven't done it yet, as I discuss in the article. My body looks different. One of the biggest struggles has been learning to accept myself for where I am in life today. A reader (thank you Cara Sue!) left a comment in another post about resolutions for 2017. She simply said she wanted to have "more self care." I love this because it encompasses more than just vanity; it's a whole lifestyle practice mentally, emotionally and physically. My priority now is my baby and my family. This used to sound like an excuse to me when other people said it, and it is to an extent, but it's simply the truth. Do you feel like you have time to workout? I don't want to be that person with excuses! My husband reminds me it's all about prioritizing the day, making smart choices.

AshleyAJones.com

So, I am trying to look at this as an opportunity to adjust to a new lifestyle! I strap the baby on and go hiking or walking. I use my Joovy jogger to jog if I'm not too tired. I have grand plans to escape to yoga, but my membership doesn't get as much use as it used to. So, I go when I can. Some days I feel like I'm running around in circles not being as productive as I'd like. I have to let my preconceived expectations of the day go as I step over full laundry baskets and Huck's toys. I have a feeling some of you can relate?  

I try to stay well so I have energy by implementing super simple tips I learned from Dr. Oz! I have to say, my whole household has been sick, but I have not! I still take Proglucamune, the immunity supplement from Usana.  I promised myself I would drink two glasses of water with my supplements every morning. I'm proud I have made that a habit. My mom recently reminded me of a tip we both learned from Ronn Moss (from BOLD AND BEAUTIFUL) years ago... hot water with lemon first thing every morning to detoxify the body. I remember him drinking it during the day on set, too. He swears by this habit. Healthy (and free) habits are the best! 

In order to make progress for tomorrow, I have to do something different today. Doing the same thing every day and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. So, I am making a list of easy, healthy habits to incorporate change in my life as part of my new year's resolutions. I'm going to force myself to try them--- wanna do it with me? Leave a comment of things you'd like to try. Drink more water? Vitamins? Less soda? Less sugar. Take more steps (literally walk more)? I'm thinking I'd like to start one habit at a time and build from there. 

In the meantime, in honor of the Golden Globes tonight, I'm sharing my favorite tricks I've learned over the years from wardrobe, makeup and hair that have helped me during this transition period of body after baby.  Read them HERE! 

Flashing Back this Friday for Upcoming Holidays (and for SHOPBOP sale alert!) xo

This was one of my favorite dresses to wear when I was pregnant and figuring out what worked best for me! See my original post about it HERE. I recently discovered it's available for the holidays in four gorgeous colors: pink, black, white and navy. I love color, but really love it in winter white. This is the type of strong, stretchy, textured material I could wear even now post-baby. I'll let you know if I decide to go white. ps- it's under $100 and if you are a SHOPBOP addict it's part of their MAINEVENT16 sale!  I have more to add...check back in later today. Off to work and bringing baby, wish me luck!

NO MORE CRYING OVER SPILLED MILK! What items are saving me (and my milk)!

AshleyAJones.com

First of all, I'm grateful I can breastfeed at all. I know it's a privilege.  With that said, it's been an incredibly trying, challenging, emotional roller coaster. For me and my husband! Sleep deprivation is a real thing! Although it hasn't even been a month, there are a few key materials I wish SO MUCH I had utilized from day one in the hospital. I'm back to work today!!  And these products have helped me save extra milk for Hayden. This is simply my experience... I'm obviously not a doctor (even though I play on one on B&B- ha!), so do your own research and find what is best for you. 

First off, I've had issues. I'll write more in another post for those that are curious of my experience, but to spare you the morbid details, I'll just say my nipples got so raw, I couldn't breastfeed.  I was still pumping, but it hurt. Badly. Finally, I listened to my mother and bought breast shields. Immediately, I was able to go back to breast feeding with Hayden.  It doesn't take away all the pain, but it lessens it by about 75%.  (***Please note: before you use these, do your own research. I believe they can help temporarily, but over time, could lessen your supply of milk.)

                         Medela Breast Shield

                        Medela Breast Shield

Secondly, my husband did his own research and ordered me Milk Savers.  After seeing how desperate I was to produce and save milk, it crushed us to see wasted milk in breast pads or dripping down my clothes.  When I would nurse on one breast, the other one would leak quite a bit.  It would've saved me  a ton of grief, pain and spilled milk!  You know the saying... no sense crying over spilled milk? Well, let me tell you. I've shed a few tears over wasting this precious liquid gold.  Every girlfriend (nursing or about to try nursing) I have told about this product wants it!

While the Milk Savers are great while I'm nursing or even around the house, I am using breast shells inside my nursing bra occasionally between feedings. They collect excess milk and it can really add up. (TIP: if you use the lids with ventilation at the top, be careful when you lean over--- it will spill out!!). This is an easy way to collect milk when you aren't feeding or pumping. Plus, at least for my situation, it protects the nipples while they are healing.  I really used them mainly for that. I didn't love collecting milk in them.

Below, I rounded up the products that have helped me the most with breastfeeding.  I added my favorite nursing bras, too.  They are priced low to high (some, in my opinion, high).  But, so far, the ones I've chosen are worth the money.  (ps- click on each picture if you're interested because some items on sale are not reflected in this post, but will show up when you click).  I'm still in shock how quickly they get messed up and need washing... one minute we're good and the next... oops! We're leaking! Anyhow, check it out... and please--- this takes a village, if there are products you highly recommend, PLEASE leave a comment.  

Check out the nursing tops I have used the most. To read more about nursing, or see where I was wearing some of these, type NURSING in the search box at the top right. You'll see more posts!

PRE AND POST BABY FAVORITES!

It's #throwbackthursday and I'm already feeling like time is going by too fast with the little man. I started looking at pictures while I was still pregnant. Once I got over the fact that 9 days ago Hayden was still inside me, I realized how these NON maternity dresses and tops are going to be fun to continue to wear all summer. And some are on sale---Like the purple dress I love-- 40% off for $30!! Click on photo to shop the outfit, or shop the post at bottom.

STEPPING UP and VENTURING OUT 39 WEEKS PREGANT!

At 39 weeks pregnant and counting, I debated if I had the energy to venture out today, but some things are worth the sacrifice. Step Up Womens Network is one of them (read more about the event and see other pictures here!). I went back to my trusted, comfy tank dress (that comes in tons of colors- I'm wearing an XS-- I wore the purple version - and a few other styles HERE). Plus, I add in extra support and confidence with maternity spanx.  I wore these heels only on the red carpet (pictured below) and then quickly slipped into my fold up, go to flats that fit in my purse and save my feet, completely worth the money. 

Charming Charlie was one of the main sponsors of the charitable event... Ali and I sported a few of their pieces. Ali's wearing one of their maxi dresses (under $35) and several pieces of jewelry-- and I love her purse/clutch. It's only $25! I think I'll be ordering that one. I was excited to wear these fun (incredibly affordable) earrings!

 Ali (32 weeks pregnant here) and I took a few pregnant pictures together in the press line.

 Ali (32 weeks pregnant here) and I took a few pregnant pictures together in the press line.

I just started timing my contractions on the way home with my girlfriends...(more on that here). My husband is texting me demanding I get my hospital bag together! I can't believe we're in the last days.... better go get it together. 

 

JUMPSUIT? Pregnant?! Um... YES! Read WHY!

JUMPSUIT? Pregnant?! Um... YES! Read WHY!

No baby news, yet. He's still content in my tummy. So, I'm trying to stay relaxed at 9 1/2 months pregnant.  This jumpsuit I'm sporting in the picture (read more to see the lookbook of high to low pricing options) must be the most comfortable thing I've ever put on... better than PJs. It'll be added to my list of staples for the next pregnancy (eek! Lord willing, but, I know, let's get through this one first!)

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Finding what works for you...

Maternity wear is tricky... finding what works for your body and comfort level is crucial. Once I find a style that works, I  stick with it. And I'll wear it over and over. The dresses that are ruched tend to work well with my growing belly (here is one I own - pictured with Ali Fedotowsky at her shower if you scroll down below---for under $100 that you'll wear over and over...plus I love all the color choices! And, I add maternity spanx.  It's fun looking back wearing the same dress, watching the belly grow as the weeks go by. Also, textured dresses that camouflage a few areas have been great, like the one I wore (again, scroll down below) to the Milk and Bookies event recently.  What I've noticed is that these don't just work for me, but my other pregnant girlfriends are loving them, too. Take the picture directly below, for instance.  Lacey (how darling and gorgeous is she here!!) and I are wearing the same ruched Ellis tank dress... she is doing the whole black and white theme! I've been drawn to more color recently (Ali and I both own this dress in blue, as well), but loved the black on Lacey so much, I went and got that one, too. I must say, the fabric on the these thicker dresses is phenomenal. You may pay a bit more, but it's worth it. I like the "supported" feeling the fabric gives the bump.  ps- Yes, that's adorable Amy Davidson that recently gave birth! She has been wearing the ruched dresses postpartum. I love knowing these cute tank dresses will work all summer as non-maternity, too.

At Milk + Bookies event with my husband.

I've tried so many, here is a round up of some of my favorites below.