‘Tis the Season (for sneezing & wheezing)

Before our babies were born, we started taking precautions to protect their fragile respiratory systems.  All newborns are susceptible to respiratory illness such as the flu, RSV, and pneumonia, but preemies are at an even greater risk, and when they become ill it is often severe.   George and I both received our flu and tDAP vaccines, and asked anyone who wanted to visit the babies during the first year to do the same.  After the babies’ birth we were diligent about things such as hand washing, not wearing shoes inside, staying away from people who had been sick, and not taking the babies into public.  Though difficult, our efforts proved successful.  We did not have a sick visit for any of the babies until after their first year, and have had only a handful in their four years of life.  After a seven week NICU stint, we had no hopes of returning.

Last month, our healthy track record was blemished.  The kids all demonstrated allergy symptoms: runny noses, drainage coughs, and itchy/ watery eyes, but all went to bed seemingly healthy.   The next morning, both George and I left for work early while the kids slept and my mom babysat.  About halfway into my commute, Mom called telling me Sydney was having a hard time breathing.  I presumed her allergies were worsening and she just needed Zyrtec, but I called the pediatrician and got an early appointment anyways.  Because my workday was booked with meetings, I sent George back home to take Sydney.  During my meeting, texts starting pinging and I started struggling with not being there.  Sydney had a nebulizer treatment for low blood oxygen something in the 70’s.  I remained hopeful the nebulizer was all she needed.  After a second treatment, things weren’t improving.  With two liters of oxygen Sydney’s oxygen saturation was only in the 80’s.  This meant an ambulance ride to the emergency room.  Feeling helpless, I rushed to the ER to meet the ambulance, but I beat it by nearly an hour.  I knew she was in good hands, but waiting to meet your child at the ER is painstaking.  As Sydney’s gurney wheeled through the waiting room, I knew she felt awful.  She barely noticed me.  Her face was pale and she appeared limp as she clutched a small tan-colored teddy.

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My usually garrulous little girl sat silently in bed as nurses buzzed about her room. After having an X-ray and multiple lab panels run, we waited for answers.  Sydney dozed off trying to steal some rest as the hours passed.   Meanwhile, my mom dutifully held down the fort at home.

Before the dinner hour, Sydney’s attending physician came in with the final result: pneumonia.  Though her symptoms presented as pneumonia, it was somewhat surprising considering she hadn’t been sick prior.  No fever, no changes in appetite or sleep.  Just mild allergies.  There are two types of pneumonia: community acquired (e.g. contagious resulting from infection in public place) or aspiration (e.g. foreign matter such as food, liquid, saliva, or vomit is inhaled into the lungs).  The only way to determine and appropriately treat pneumonia is from lab work that indicates if microplasmas are present.  Though the type wasn’t yet known, Sydney was immediately put on IV antibiotics as a precaution.  She was still very sick, but within several hours, Sydney started talking again and could sit up for short periods.   Despite marked improvement, Sydney still needed oxygen to maintain healthy levels of oxygen saturation so we were in for an overnight stay.

Once settled into our room, Sydney was excited to choose her meal from room service (she hadn’t eaten in over 24 hours).  We had one slight problem when ordering: her egg allergy.  Last year, a mild egg allergy showed up on Sydney’s panel along with dogs and cats.  She doesn’t demonstrate any symptoms after eating foods containing cooked eggs, but we always disclose the allergy in case medication is derived from eggs.  If you have a food allergy of any type, you are given a rather restricted hospital menu.  An egg allergy means NO baked goods of any type and NO pasta, which are among Sydney’s favorites.  She finally settled on French fries and chicken nuggets though she filled up on Oreos snuck in by her nurses instead.   Sydney happily passed the evening hours watching movies from bed and listening to stories.  The night was difficult with hourly nurse’s checks, IV adjustments, and general hospital noises.  I managed to get a little shut-eye curled up next to Sydney while George snoozed on the oh so comfy hospital sofa.  After breakfast, Sydney finally needed to use the restroom and when we unhooked her oxygen tank, noticed her oxygen was in the 90’s!  This meant we could start the clock towards release.  She could go home after six hours without oxygen and no other concerns with her vitals.  We still didn’t know which variety of pneumonia little bit had so a mask was necessary for us to leave the room.  Sydney was not pleased with this, but she clamored to get out of her bed.  The little tan teddy who comforted Sydney during the ambulance ride helped convince her to wear a mask as well as take medication and cope with hospital life.

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By late afternoon Sydney passed her six-hour test, and we learned she developed pneumonia from aspiration.  This meant she was not contagious (HOORAY) and we were headed home with a round of antibiotics.  Going to the hospital is always a humbling experience.  We are grateful Sydney’s stay was brief and that we managed to go four years without anyone going to the hospital.  Though we do not hope to repeat this ever again, we admittedly savored the individual time with Sydney.

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Sydney was soooooo happy to be discharged she struck this pose with the enormous hospital toy teddy.  After coming home, Lovey, has been instrumental getting Sydney to finish her medicines.  Lovey takes a tiny bit then Sydney hesitantly finishes it.

A week after this hospital stint, Sydney returned to the pediatrician for a follow-up visit and got a clean bill of health.  In addition to being a preemie, having pneumonia puts Sydney at risk for further respiratory illness.  Therefore, all four kids, mom, and dad got flu shots.  Exactly one week following discharge, Sydney was covered in hives.  Thankfully, a friend warned us that it was possible.  Apparently following serious illness, the body can have a histamine reaction resulting in hives.  Sydney handled the itchiness well and tolerated a few rounds of Claritin and clear calamine lotion.  Within three days they disappeared as quickly as they appeared.

We are oh so happy to be home and healthy again, and are taking as many precautions to keep things this way as we can.  I’ve since gotten a pulse oximeter to help us monitor oxygen saturation should there be another scare.

Hugs!

Amber


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More Fried Squid, Please

Ramen noodle houses are a new trend in our area so we decided to try one with the kids for family date night.  A foodie friend recommended Hanabi Ramen & Izakaya so that’s where we headed.  Ever since the kids were babies, we’ve tried to expose them to novel foods and encourage them to try new things.   As our crew began to develop picking eating habits, we began implementing Ellyn Satter’s approach to feeding.  Though this approach has helped tremendously and eliminated mealtime whining, the kids still have three year old opinions about food and fickle choices.  For instance, bananas may be all the rage for a week and then are taboo.  Given their three year old ways, it’s always a gamble whether they’ll enjoy something new or not.

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Interestingly enough, they become FAR more adventurous out than at home.  Our dinner at Hanabi proved to be quite a quadventure.  On the way to the restaurant, we told the kids we would have noodles for dinner and fried squid.  We avoided giving them any type of expectations about how the food would look or taste, and simply labeled it. Upon our arrival, we were seated at a cozy booth and each child was given adapted chop sticks.  While waiting for our food, they practiced pinching the chopsticks like tweezers (this was a great fine motor task!).

When our appetizer, fried squid, arrived,  I wasn’t sure whether they would sample any.  I’m not typically a fan of calamari so I wasn’t expecting fried squid to be tasty.  However, to be an example for the kids, I tried a bite, and really enjoyed it.  After taking note from us, all four of the kids tried fried squid too, and they devoured it!  In fact, they enjoyed fried squid so much we ordered a second plate of  it.  During the meal, the kids also enjoyed boiled eggs, which they’ve never been willing to try at home.  The kids impressed the restaurant staff as well as other patrons with their willingness to try atypical foods.  The chef brought them a plate of dumplings to try and the kids gobbled them.

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We don’t expect our kids to like every food they try and we will never force them to try anything, but we really enjoy giving them the opportunity to sample things.  We also want them to learn how to respect different cultures and people, and food is one way to teach this lesson.

P.S. If you watch the video of them sampling squid for the first time, you’ll notice Harper says he doesn’t like “squid that’s in the sea”.  He later clarified that he prefers it “Died and fried”, meaning he doesn’t want to eat live squid.  I’m with him on that!

Have you ever tried fried squid?  If not, it’s worth the adventure!

hugs,

Amber



Related Posts:



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Curious Harper 

This is about Harper.  He was a good little boy, and always very curious…

As soon as Harper could crawl, he developed an immense curiosity about everything around him.  Once he could walk, and then climb we were in BIG trouble.  By the age of two, “dismantle” and “destroy” were part of his vocabulary.  His sisters often mention “mischief” and “shenanigans”.  He’s keen on taking things apart to figure out how and why they work.  I love this little boy’s zest for learning and his clever nature, but it exhausts me.   Every single day I struggle with finding consequences for his behavior that will not squelch his inquisitive nature.  His most recent endeavors include:

  • flushing two toothbrushes down the toilet, resulting in an entire toilet replacement
  • pouring a bottle of dish soap into a pot of Gerber daisies
  • squirting almost an entire tube of toothpaste into the sink
  • emptying a bottle of shampoo into the bathtub
  • dumping hair detangler in the sink
  • dismantling a toy helicopter, solar powered butterflies, Nerf bullets, and a Hot Wheels track
  • doling out snacks from the pantry
  • unleashing dust bunnies from the vacuum cleaner
  • shredding magazines
  • removing flaps from books
  • unrolling tape to make tricycle streamers

 

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This time, Harper had a lesson on how the vacuum worked, but he’d already dumped it before.

I promise, I supervise him well and offer a variety of sensory and enriching activities to satisfy his thirst for hands on learning, but nonetheless, Harper is programmed for curiosity. Before going to bed, I say a prayer something like this:

“Dear God, please help me to appreciate Harper’s zest for learning and to treat him with patience and respect rather than anger and frustration.  Help him learn ways to be productive with this curiosity, and eventually use it to earn an honest living.”

Last week, Harper’s curiosity finally benefited me.  I noticed that his bolted-to-the-wall nightstand was askew.   Just before I started to press for an explanation, I decided to investigate it myself.  Though I have no idea why he pulled the nightstand crooked, I was ecstatic to find the treasure trove behind it.

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In the company of a plastic sword, miniature road barrier, Christmas tree angel, and wooden fish, you may spy a kelly green iPod nano.  Why yes!!!  This particular iPod has been MIA since October.  Many months ago, Sydney took it from the dock and seemed to be handling it well so I let her play with it, but then it vanished.  When questioned, Sydney insisted it was “by the bed”.  After taking our bed, hers, and the boys apart, I gave up hope.  I missed this iPod especially when I wrote reports at work, or wanted to enjoy a particular playlist, but really I presumed it was flushed with the toothbrushes.  Harper was quite pleased with this discovery too.

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 I can only hope that future investigations will lead to similarly wonderful discoveries. In the meantime, I’ll continue prayers for patience.

hugs!

 

Amber

 

 

Tonsurephobia {fear of haircuts}

About a year ago, I earned a coveted, “Mother of the Year” Award. It was the day before the kids were going to be in a wedding, and Harper desperately needed a haircut.  I checked him in at our neighborhood chop shop and loaded him into the van.  Though his first haircut was rocky, Harper eventually became tolerant of them.  When we got to the barber shop, Harper started digging his heels in and making a fuss.  I tried my best to soothe him, and even offered up a couple of bribes.  This kid needed his tresses trimmed BIG time and I needed cooperation.  Except he wasn’t going to cooperate.   The hairstylist suggested I hold him, and explained she formerly worked for a children’s salon.  She was familiar with upset children and tantrums didn’t bother her.  Against my instincts, I held Harper as enormous tears streamed down his cheeks.  He ended up with a great haircut, but I knew something wasn’t right.  Immediately following his haircut, I called the pediatrician and got an appointment for 15 minutes later.  My poor baby had a double  ear infection!  I felt terrible.  I forced Harper to endure a haircut while he was in pain.  After a round of medication, Harper was feeling better and ready for the wedding.  I felt horribly guilty for the hair cut fiasco, but didn’t think too much of it.

 

About six to eight weeks following the wedding, it was time for Harper to get a trim again. His ears were healed and he was perfectly healthy, except he developed a fear of haircuts, similar a taste aversion. He associated his unpleasant experience and pain with haircuts in general.  When we returned to the salon, Harper was distraught. Tears streamed down his cheeks and he began begging to leave. With a great deal of soothing, he agreed to sit in the chair, but when he spied the scissors, he began thrashing and shouting things like, “This shouldn’t happen!” and “Don’t do this to me!”  We ended up having to leave without a trim and his hair grew shaggy.

This process was repeated a few times before George decided to try his hand at hair styling.  Harper was not more comfortable getting a DIY haircut than going to the salon, in fact it was MUCH worse.  Harper became even more anxious about haircuts and thrashed about wildly.  His hair looked worse than ever as a result of random snips here and there.  At one point, Harper was rocking the “Dr. Spock”.  Any mention of a haircut or salon set Harper into a tizzy.  He was one step away from getting a Flowbee haircut before I decided to try a little desensitization therapy with him.  It took several months, but with several strategies, Harper is now much more comfortable getting haircuts.  He still doesn’t enjoy it, but he is not stressed or afraid of them, which is major progress.  Based on my observations of other children at salons, and hearing the tales from other parents, I know that a fear of hair cuts is a relatively common problem.  In fact, it is known as tonsurephobia.

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After this difficult experience, here are my tips for helping ease anxiety about haircuts:

  1. Make small approximations at reaching the goal of getting a haircut.  For instance, maybe look at pictures of people getting haircuts or read books about it.  Then, visit the salon without getting a haircut.  Next, have your child sit in a chair while talking to a stylist or simply observing the salon.  If your child seems comfortable, see if they can tolerate getting their bangs trimmed.
  2. Legitimize feelings and explain that you understand he feels scared about haircuts.   Though the fear may seem trivial or silly, it is very real to your child.
  3. Go to a children’s salon.  It may cost a little more than popular chains, but the stylists are accustomed to working with little ones and often have a range of tricks (e.g. blowing bubbles, singing, working quickly) they use to make the experience pleasant.  Also, children’s salons are full of handy distractions designed to make children feel at ease- movies, games, car chairs, ect.
  4. Choose a time when the salon won’t be busy.  When a salon is crowded, it can be overstimulating, especially to someone who is feeling anxious.  I found that weekdays mid to late afternoon is ideal because older kids are in school and babies are napping.  If a weekday won’t work, try scheduling an appointment when the salon staff feels it will be least busy.
  5. Ask the stylist to let your child see and touch any tools used, including clippers that are running.
  6. Let your child observe someone who is at ease getting a haircut.
  7. Praise your child as he makes progress and offer small tangible rewards as he tries new things.

In addition to a fear of haircuts, we’ve experienced several other fears including elevators, hair washings, fingernail trimming, and car washes.  Each of these fears were eased with similar strategies, and are no longer major issues.

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hugs!

Amber

Related Posts:

The Girls First Haircuts

The Boys First Haircuts


For more from Four to Adore, connect with us via Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.  We often share pictures, activities, and recipes via social media.


 

Summer Loving Cash Bash!

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Welcome to our first ever Mommy Buddy Blogger Group Cash Bash brought to you by these lovely ladies. We have come together for an awesome $200 Cash giveaway! Please stop by all these lovely ladies’ blogs below. They are all pretty awesome!



Remember a few weeks back when I mentioned that I won a blog giveaway?  Well, it’s your turn to try your hand at a fantastic blog giveaway.  This time it is $200 for fun summer spending and I would love one of my readers to grab this prize.
If I managed to score some extra cash, I would be tempted to spoil the babies or tackle another of my DIY projects.  However, I think I would give myself the gift of pampering.  I’d start out with a massage then head to the nail salon for one of the premium manicure/ pedicure packages.  You know the kind where they scrub your feet in sumptuous smelling decadence and then adorn your piggy toes with a Hawaiian flower?  Spa days are a rare treat that I don’t typically afford myself, but bonus money would do the trick!  How would you spend an extra $200 in your wallet?
One lucky winner will get the choice of either $200 Paypal Cash or $200 Amazon e-card.The giveaway will run from July 8th, 12am EST to July 15th, 12am EST and is open worldwide. Please enter on the Rafflecopter form below. All entries will be verified!
GOOD LUCK!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclaimer: Four to Adore did not accept compensation for this event, nor is it responsible for delivery of the prize. The prize will be delivered by Nicole from Momma on Wheels please contact Nicole at Nicole22654@yahoo.com for any questions.

This post may contain affiliate links. For more info, please see my disclaimer page.

The Ants Go Marching…

On a whim, George and I decided to create a fundraising team for the March of Dimes, and actually take all four babies to participate. This was a major feat for us. First of all, we just came off lock down at the beginning of the month so we are still germ-fearing and highly protective of our brood. Plus, we are extremely rigid with our schedule, and the walk was scheduled to occur during the morning nap. Despite all of our reservations, we knew the March of Dimes was a cause close to our hearts and worthy of true support: walking the walk. Since very little prior planning was involved, we knew there was a real possibility it would be the two of us waking four babies too early and hauling them into a mass of people. Fortunately, my sister graciously met at our house to help get the babies ready and to join us. George’s aunt and youngest cousin, Brandi also met us to walk the walk.

I haven't the foggiest idea why the parking lot for the walk was behind locked gates.  We had to scrounge up some muscle to hoist four babies loaded into the Runabout over it.

I haven’t the foggiest idea why the parking lot for the walk was behind locked gates, but it made reaching the starting line dicey for us.. We had to scrounge up some muscle to hoist four babies in the Runabout over it.

If you look behind us, there is a glimpse of the crowd marching by.

If you look behind us, there is a glimpse of the crowd marching by.

Mamma's gotta keep tabs on her little quadlings.

Mamma’s gotta keep tabs on her little quadlings.

Being rookies to the March of Dimes, George and I didn’t know what to expect or how to prepare. I am horrible at estimating distances and numbers so there could have been 1,000 walkers or 100,000. Regardless of the actual number, I can say there were people as far as the eye could see and the entire trail was packed. By far this is the most public event we’ve attended with the babies. The path was gridlocked with families and friends marching for a united cause, and it was moving to say the least. We enjoyed seeing all the team t-shirts and learning about the stories behind them. Our hearts were touched by several families walking for preemies much smaller than even Sydney (she was 2 lbs, 6 oz) and in remembrance of the tiniest of family members. It was a solemn reminder never to take our babies’ health for granted and to always remember the medical staff who helped us along the journey. We have a team of perinatologists who helped us keep the babies healthy prior to delivery and then an entire NICU staff who cared for our fragile preemies.

Here is some of our off road action.

Most of the walk, the crowd trudged along at a snails’ pace, which did not make for happy babies. Several times we went off the trail so we could run instead. Our babies enjoy a grueling pace! George and I realized we aren’t in the best of shape anymore…we were rather winded.

I'm not sure if Mason was fed up with his sister badgering him or if he was just totally tuckered out.

I’m not sure if Mason was fed up with his sister badgering him or if he was just totally tuckered out.

Mason found his happy place with Aunt CiCi!

Mason found his happy place with Aunt CiCi!

Even in a large crowd of thousands, a quad stroller is not the most conspicuous. Needless to say, we attracted a great deal of attention. As far as comments and questions, we heard nothing but niceties. Many people shared the notion we believe to be true: “you are blessed!” I beamed each time a passerby told us that and I always will. I don’t recall any rude commentary. However, the paparazzi was in full force. George and I are becoming accustomed to questions and photo requests. The paparazzi is different. They don’t bother to ask questions or dole out compliments. They gawk and snap pictures from their iphones then paste them up on their social networks. I presume I shall eventually get used to that sort of thing, but it made me feel totally violated. After all, I have no idea what happened to pictures snapped of us after the fact. I’m not sure I’ve ever intentionally taken a photo of a stranger without their knowledge or consent, but I will think twice about it if I ever get a notion to do so. That bit of drama aside, we had a great walk together as a family and plan to keep the tradition alive. Next year, we would like to coordinate better and rally a team to join us in the walk. We even brainstormed about creating team t-shirts in the same shade of blue as our stroller.

Ta da!  We made it through the finish line with four babies in tow!

Ta da! We made it through the finish line with four babies in tow!

As we crossed the finish line, each baby received a sticker like this one.  We slapped them on the backs of their onsies since they'd eat them otherwise.

As we crossed the finish line, each baby received a sticker like this one. We slapped them on the backs of their onsies since they’d eat them otherwise.

The finish line was far too crowded for a photo op so we settled for the March of Dimes Bell Helicopter.

The finish line was far too crowded for a photo-op so we settled for the March of Dimes Bell Helicopter.

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Brandi helped keep Rylin happy while Carol snuggled a sleeping Harper.

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By the end of the march, we had to bail three babies from the stroller. Only Sydney remained, contently chattering about the event. With only Sydney in the stroller, Courtney was able to help George lift the Runabout over the railing to the van.

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Grandaddy opted out of the walk, but patiently waited for us at the end and dutifully helped load fussing babies into the van.

Since Courtney joined us for the walk, I let her sit shotgun while I shimmied between the boys in the back of the van.  I realized they've been fooling me into thinking they nap in the van.  Turns out they are quiet, but look like this!

Since Courtney joined us for the walk, I let her sit shotgun while I shimmied between the boys in the back of the van. I realized they’ve been fooling me into thinking they nap in the van. Turns out they are quiet, but look like this!

The girls didn't conk out either. ..Sitting in the back of the van I saw eight little eyes staring back at me!

The girls didn’t conk out either. ..Sitting in the back of the van I saw eight little eyes staring back at me!

What causes are close to your heart?

hugs!

Amber

We would like to extend a special thanks to the following people who donated in honor of our team:

Karen Cox

Christina Childress

Angie Owens

Kristen Klatt

Courtney Zehnder

Brandi Steele

Carol Vincell

Please, vote! And, vote often!

Last year when I first began writing this blog, I learned about the Circle of Moms Top 25 lists, which recognize special interest blogs. I was especially excited to find out there was a top 25 blogs for multiples list. At that time we weren’t actually raising quads so weren’t yet contenders. This year, however, is different. We are entered so its game on!

George and I are extremely competitive (seriously, we’ve settled arguments via card games and love board games!).  When we compete, we are in it to win it! Please help us out by clicking the “vote for me” badge pictured below or on the sidebar of our homepage. You can vote daily through May 8, 2013 so please try to vote and vote often.   There is a lot of stiff competition, especially from other quad blogs so we need your help, please vote and ask others to vote too. It’s easy!

For now, we are under the “pending approval” list and could be there a few days until our blog is reviewed by the committee.  After you click the badge, click the “pending approval tab” then scroll down to our picture and click “vote”.  Once we are off the “pending approval list” we will be on the list right after you click the badge.

Happy voting!

Amber

It’s Infertility Awareness Week (4/22-4/28)

This week is an important one for George and me as it is Infertility Awareness Week.  While are are currently expecting quads, we will never forget the years of pain and struggle we went through to get here.  Not to mention the fact that infertility and loss robbed us of naivety to fully enjoy the pregnancy as we still have little fears that creep upon us.  Yes, the wounds from infertility heal in time, but it is something that forever leaves small scars on those affected.  Because infertility has forced us to grow and learn about ourselves as well as strengthen our faith and I would not change our experiences.  At the same time, I would not wish them upon an enemy.    We have many friends we’ve bonded with via the ALI (Adoption/ Loss/ Infertility) community who are continuing to struggle and we owe them our continued prayer and support.

Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples, however, most people are very private about it, and sometimes even feel ashamed so you would not know they are struggling.  Please take the time to read the link below regarding infertility etiquette because chances are you know someone who is struggling and may unintentionally be causing them pain.  I can personally say that one of the most painful questions that I was asked at least once a week was, “When are you having kids?”  Yes, this is a perfectly normal question to ask, but to someone dealing with infertility it is like pouring a container of Morton’s salt into a gashing wound.  So, please o take time to think about this.

Infertility Etiquette:

http://www.resolve.org/support-and-services/for-family–friends/infertility-etiquette.html

About Infertility Awareness Week:

http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/home-page.html

Also consider checking out some of the ALI blogs I follow.  The wonderful people there deserve some support!

Amber

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