Last Call for This Year’s Infertility Awareness Week Contributions

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We asked for stories of infertility to honour Infertility Awareness Week, and you guys have delivered! We’ve got a great week of beautiful, varied and sometimes difficult posts coming up.

The door’s still open, though, if you’ve been thinking about contributing. Just email us your contribution, whether it’s text or a link to a post you’d like re-published here.

You can see more details at our Infertility Awareness Week 2014 page.

Stories of infertility on How Do You Do It?

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It Wasn’t Fair: The Road to Baby

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(This post was submitted anonymously.)

When we first got married, we knew we both wanted kids. We knew we would be great parents. We just weren’t ready yet. The day would come, but in our early(ish) 20s, we wanted to enjoy the time that was just the two of us.

About a year later, a co-worker of mine got pregnant (as often happens with teachers) and I began to imagine what it would be like for us to have a little one. It was the first time that I really wanted a child, and I realized I was ready. While I was ready for the little one in my arms, I didn’t really like the idea of having my blood drawn every month (I was deathly afraid of needles and I had never had my blood drawn). I didn’t want the morning sickness. I was feeling icky about the idea of something growing inside me and kicking me from the inside. But still, the urge was there.

Later in the year, at a wedding of two of our dear friends, I spent time with the most adorable 1 year old, and I knew this was something I wanted. Really wanted. My poor husband was left thinking, “Wait, we were going to wait until we were 30, and we are only 25! Why did you change our plans?”

We talked and I knew that although we both still really wanted kids in the future, the time wasn’t right. So, given the choice between baby and dog, we chose a dog.

Well, in the fall of 2011, the urge for a child was still there for me, and it kept getting stronger. My husband and I talked often, and he understood my want and need, but he wasn’t ready for that commitment yet. I really have so much respect for him for standing up to my emotional fits and sighs upon seeing an adorable baby, a great nursery on Pinterest, or a happy pregnant lady. We decided that we would start trying during the summer of 2012. That would mean we would have our child in the spring of 2013, the perfect timing for a teacher. I would have my maternity leave, and then it would be summer! Plus, I would have my morning sickness during the summer months before school started.

We started trying in May 2012. We thought we would be totally fertile and get pregnant right away. In June, I got really sick and I was nauseous all the time, especially in the morning. I was sure I was pregnant. I went to the doctor, and she thought I was too. She started explaining (knowing how afraid I was of needles) that she would have to draw blood to test. For the first time, I was more than happy for that needle.

I got the call back the next day. Negative. She had no idea why I was so sick, prescribed me some nausea pills, and told me to contact her again soon if it didn’t go away.

Once the school year ended, the nausea went away sometimes. Some days it would be so intense that I would stay in bed most of the day, and some days it was bearable and I could have a normal summer crafting day.

Then my grandfather died. The nausea stayed away, but this was a grief that I had not experienced before. I struggled so much with this loss. When I found out that I wasn’t pregnant, once again, just a couple of weeks after his death, I could hardly bear it. I was hoping for a life to grow inside of me to help honor my papa. Instead, I felt that there was more death around us.

As the new school year started up again, the nausea came back. I started losing weight as I didn’t feel like eating. I had my endoscopy, x-rays, ultrasounds, allergy testing. Nothing definitive pinpointed the nausea. I realized in about October that it was gone. I didn’t have it anymore. I still have no idea what it was, nor do my doctors.

In October, we started to be concerned that I still wasn’t pregnant. I was no longer sick. I was at a really healthy weight again, I looked great, I felt great, but I wasn’t pregnant. We thought that maybe it was the stress from the past school year, being sick, and my grandfather’s death that prevented the pregnancy. I went to see my doctor. She confirmed that I was healthy and would have no problems getting pregnant. It was just 5 months of trying, after all. “Be patient. Relax. Stop worrying. It will happen for you. Come and see me again if you are not pregnant after 1 year. In the meantime, I’m sure I will see you next month with a positive pregnancy test.”

So, one more month of trying. One more month of negative tests. Since the summer, I had been charting my BBT (basal body temperature), peeing on a stick to find out when I was ovulating, and many other weird methods to make sure I was going to have the most success possible. Something just didn’t feel right. We were sure I was going to get pregnant right away! So why wasn’t I pregnant?

So, in November, we contacted a fertility doctor. I was surprised that I didn’t need a referral to see him. I just made an appointment (the earliest he would be able to see us would be January 17). Then, the most magnificent news came: he could see us for our initial visit on December 4! I felt like our luck was going to turn around.

On the day of the appointment, we were a bundle of nerves (mine were on the surface, as my emotions always are, and my husband was able to hide his nervousness). In this 2-hour consultation, the doctor talked to us about the difficulties of getting pregnant for normal people, checked me out (through an vaginal ultrasound), and then discussed all of the options for us. We found that, although we are both young and healthy, there were some issues which would make it hard for us to get pregnant. In the effort of keeping privacy, I will not go into those details, but it was difficult to hear. We were seemingly healthy! Our doctor said so! But we still had some other issues which would make getting pregnant difficult. Not just difficult, but near impossible. We were told we would have a 5% chance of getting pregnant without IVF (in vitro fertilization). That was really, really hard to hear.

This wasn’t fair! We had a loving relationship. We adored each other and our families. My friends were getting pregnant, having babies, enjoying their new families. Where was ours? Why were we given the short straw when so many others could get pregnant just by looking at each other?!

So, thus began the start of the emotional mood swings. If we thought it was tough over the summer, it was nothing compared to what was ahead of us. We lived in 2 Week Waits: trying to get pregnant and then waiting to see if I was pregnant (and repeat).

In December, after we found out about our fertility problems, we quickly started on our Road to Baby. The first step was to try and help jumpstart my ovulation by taking Clomid. (One of my issues was that I needed make sure that I was actually ovulating and releasing eggs.) December was the first month that I took this. Holy mood swings! Still, if it could help me get pregnant, that was worth it!

That first month, we had a few other tests done, including blood tests, a sperm analysis (immediate and 24-hour), post-coital test (to see if my body allowed the sperm to live or if it were a “hostile environment”), an HSG x-ray to check if my tubes were clear, and ultrasounds throughout the process. This is when we were told that Clomid alone wouldn’t do any good and we needed to look to take other measures, most likely IVF with ICSI (intra-cytoplasmic sperm injection). We were heartbroken to hear this, but then we picked ourselves up and moved forward. While we were saving money to do IVF, we decided that we would try 3 months of IUI, take a month off, and then do IVF. We were hopeful that it could work. After all, it is said that the 3 months after the HSG x-ray, the woman is most fertile (the dye helps clean out the tubes).

One other thing that my doctor did to help was to put me on medicine for hypothyroidism. We didn’t find out until about a year later that I actually didn’t have hypothyroidism, but there was a new thought in the medical world that by manipulating the thyroid levels, it could improve fertility.

January: the first month of IUI. Clomid, watching with BBT and ovulation predictor kits, and IUI when I showed a positive test.

Then we waited 2 weeks. Then we took a test. Negative.

We picked ourselves up and tried again.

February: the second month of IUI. Clomid, watching with BBT and ovulation predictor kits, and IUI when I showed a positive test. We thought that we were probably about a day or two late, so we weren’t holding our breath.

2 week wait. Took a test. Negative.

March: the last month of IUI. We knew in our hearts that this month wouldn’t be successful either, so we were looking towards IVF in May. Our fertility doctor decided that he wanted to try a different course of medicines. My husband was taught how to give me injections of Follistem in my stomach. The doctor had me come in every morning for ultrasounds to check my follicles (numbers and sizes). We found that I had about 5 mature follicles, all racing to be The First to release the egg. Then, once I ovulated and we did IUI, I stared on estrogen patches and progesterone suppositories for two weeks. At the time of the IUI, we figured that I had released 2-3 eggs, which gave a much better chance at one of them becoming fertilized. The estrogen and progesterone was only done to help our chances of implantation.

Two weeks later, I woke up on the day that my prescriptions for the estrogen and progesterone supplements were up. I knew that I had to take a test to see if I was pregnant or call in to continue the prescriptions. I peed on a stick. I went to lay down again with the stick on the side table. I looked over once the time was up. Two lines. TWO LINES! I had never seen that before.

As soon as the office opened up, I called my doctor to tell them about the test. They ordered a blood test for us with a rush order for results. We raced over to the lab, then waited 2 hours, then got our answer. I was pregnant!!!! We got a congrats and then an appointment for 3 weeks afterwards for my first ultrasound.

I stopped taking my birth control pills in January 2012. We started officially trying in May 2012. I got my first positive in April 2013. Amazing.

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Call for Stories: Tell Your Infertility Tale

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Infertility Awareness Theme Week

Stories of infertility on How Do You Do It?We MoMs can get annoyed by the constancy of strangers asking whether our kids are “natural”, but the truth is that for many of us, infertility has been part of the journey.

April 20-26 is Infertility Awareness Week. We’re going to be doing another theme week, but with a twist. We’re inviting YOU, dear readers, to share your story with us if infertility has touched your life. Whether you now have 6 kids or are still fighting for your first, tell us how you feel or what happened. Educate and inform us. Tell us what thoughtless statement from a stranger brings that pain rushing back. Tell us how you supported a friend or family member during fertility challenges. Email us your post or request a guest publishing account at hdydiblog@gmail.com by midnight CST on April 19. (Details below.)

We know that infertility isn’t easy to talk about. We know there’s a lot of stigma around it. We know that you don’t want your children to find out the lengths you may have gone to have them from a stranger. If you wish us to publish your story anonymously, please just tell us that and we will honour your wishes.

To Submit a Story

Option 1: Email

To email us your story, please send the following to hdydiblog@gmail.com by midnight CST on April 19, 2014.

  • The content of your post. Your post can be prose (at least 100 words), poetry, a list… anything “bloggable” goes! We may elect to publish anything longer than 1000 words as a multi-part series. If the content has been previously published, we can republish it as long as you own the copyright.
  • Author name. How would you like to be listed? “Anonymous” is fine!
  • Whether we should associate your email address with the post. No one but HDYDI admins will be able to see it, but having an accurate email address will ensure that you receive any comments that other readers leave.
  • (Optional) A blog or website URL to link to.
  • (Optional) Social media profiles you’d like us to link to (Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, Facebook page, etc.).
  • (Optional) A short bio to append to the end of the post.
  • (Optional) Image files to associate with your post.
  • (Optional) Video files or links to associate with your post.

Option 2: In WordPress

Please send to following to hdydiblog@gmail.com to request a guest account.

  • The username you would like to use to log in. (Existing WordPress.com accounts will not work, since hdydi.com runs its own WordPress instance.)
  • How your name should appear on the post as author.
  • The email address to associate with the account.

We will get back to you with account details within 48 hours. Please submit your content for editorial review and scheduling by midnight CST on April 19, 2014.

Option 3: On Your Own Blog

Whether you have already published your story and would like to share it anew, or are writing about it on your blog for the first time, we will create a link up to run from April 20 to April 26 where you can add your link.

Please feel free to add our theme week badge to your post or sidebar:

Stories of infertility on How Do You Do It?

Please, take a moment to share what you wished you’d heard from someone else during your infertility journey.

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Triplets?! Angela’s Story of Love and Loss

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Prematurity Awareness Week 2013: How Do You Do It?

World Prematurity Day November 17In the United States, 1 in 9 babies is born prematurely, 1 in 10 in Canada. Worldwide, over 15 million babies are born too soon each year. While not all multiples are born prematurely, a multiple birth increases the probability of an early delivery. Babies born prematurely, before 37 weeks gestation, are at a higher risk for health complications in infancy, some of which can have long-term effects. Full-term infants are not all free from their own health complications, of course.

In honor of November’s Prematurity Awareness Month, led by the March of Dimes, How Do You Do It? is focusing this week’s posts on The Moms’ experiences with premature deliveries, NICU stays, health complications, special needs, and how we’ve dealt with these complex issues.


I’ve told my story so many times, you’d think I’d be able to write it down too. I’ve given talks to women’s groups and loss groups about it, done blog posts about it, etc., but something about this one is different. Maybe it’s because I know the audience reading this will be different… you’ll be in the thick of preemie-hood or the NICU or bed rest and you’ll want comfort and hope…

And I won’t be able to give you those things… Well, not in the way you’d expect at least. You see, my birth story ended with the loss of one of my triplets. I don’t want to scare you – having a preemie doesn’t mean you’ll experience loss too – but I do want to be real with you. One of the most real things I can do or say is this… my hope comes from knowing he made a difference in his 49 days of life. It comes from seeing his surviving brother and sister meet milestones and overcome obstacles. It comes from knowing that my story gets to be told and that it matters. And I hope you’ll feel that hope in what you read today, and not the sadness of loss.

I got married in 2007 and always knew I’d be a mom. We got pregnant right off the pill a year later, but sadly, we miscarried. We. Were. Devastated. I never thought I’d be dealing with miscarriage. Or what came next. Three years of infertility, another miscarriage, 2 rounds of IUI, and finally – finally – we were pregnant.

Angela-2

With triplets.

Angela-5

I was scared all over again. I was placed in the high-risk category. We nervously counted down the weeks and each week were surprised that all was going well. I had a shortened cervix, so I had a cerclage placed. At 22 1/2 weeks, I was placed on home bed rest to slow things down a bit. But that only lasted 2 weeks, and I was off to the hospital for a month of bed rest there. It was an experience that stuck with me so much, I even wrote a book about it.

Now the goal was to keep the babies cooking as long as possible. After 11 days, Baby A’s water broke, but he stuck in there for 19 more days.

From before birth, Carter fought to live. He fought to help his brother and sister live. While I was in the hospital on bed rest, his sac ruptured 19 days before his birth, leaving him unprotected. Because he was able to stay in, his brother and sister were able to continue to grow.

It would be food poisoning that would finally do me in. 2:30 a.m. and I was in full blown contractions. They couldn’t stop them, and I delivered my trio at 27 weeks and 5 days at barely 2lbs5oz each. My mom was in Hawaii. I’ll never forget how crushed she was to not be there. They were immediately taken to the level 3 NICU and I was taken to recovery. I don’t remember much about that first 12 hours. I do remember that at one point, my husband had to tell me some bad news, and I was so drugged up that I just kept encouraging him like it was happening to another baby and not ours.

birth of triplets

At birth, Carter was the weakest. On the first day, the doctors didn’t think Carter would survive. His lungs weren’t working. After a tense few hours, it was evident Carter was a fighter as he survived his first brush with death.

Those first few days they were in the NICU weren’t too hard, probably because we were still in shock and adjusting to the reality of things. It was the day of discharge for me that things got real. We got bad news on all three of them. It was the first time I cried. I wouldn’t cry again for 44 days…

During his first few days of life, he struggled with high glucose, needing high oxygen support, and needing morphine and blood transfusions. Little did we know this was just the beginning. The doctors also discovered that he and his siblings all had E Coli sepsis, which wreaked havoc on their lungs and caused them to have brain bleeds. They were diagnosed with level 3 and 4 brain bleeds and hydrocephalus, a condition which can lead to cerebral palsy or other issues.

At home, I focused on pumping – getting over 70 ounces a day of the liquid gold. It kept me sane, giving me something to do for the babies. I went to the NICU every single day. I think I might have missed one day in total. I had to be there. I had to.

After only a week of life, Carter started to experience edema, and we began to lose the baby we knew and see a more swollen boy. He would live the rest of his life with this challenge, getting up to 6 ½ pounds at one point when he should only have been around 4 pounds at the time of his death. Throughout the weeks, Carter’s journey would be one of constant ups and downs. He would have a good day, only to have a bad day the next. After about two weeks of life, we began to discuss the possibility he might not survive this journey. We kept our faith and refused to give up on our little boy.

Each baby had their ups and downs. Braden had ruptured bowel at 7 days old, Tenley and Braden both had to be transferred to a higher-level hospital and had surgery for their brain bleeds that first night there. She’d have 2 surgeries by the time she left 86 days later, and he’d have 4 surgeries and leave after 111 days.

Even when Braden & Tenley continued to make progress and moved to a different hospital, we did not give up hope that Carter would recover and be well enough to make the move with them. But, the night of their transfer, we were told he only had a 10% chance of making it. We still remained hopeful, and our boy still fought. For the next few weeks, we had many ups and downs, many times we didn’t think he’d make it. At one point, we said our goodbyes and made peace with everything that might happen to him. We knew he’d be going to a better place, and we knew we’d be okay too.

So many emotions coursed through my body during these days. It was unbelievably hard. It tested my faith, my marriage, my friendships, my everything. I was in a whole new world. I could spout off terminology like I was one of the doctors in the NICU. I kept a detailed journal of everything – the updates, the records, the stats – everything. It was another way I stayed sane.

Then, things took a turn for the worse as his kidneys shut down and he was on full support. But, they also took enough of a turn for the better that a small window of opportunity was found to transfer him to the same hospital his siblings were. One last chance. After he was moved, he made great strides. He fought hard, and he won several battles. He was coming out of the woods…

Tenley would eventually get contaminant meningitis at the site of her brain surgery opening, which sent her back to level 3 and almost took her life. It might not have been that bad to deal with, except for the fact that it happened at the same time as we were losing Carter.

At the same time as Tenley was back in level 3, Carter wasn’t keeping his stats up and was weakening. They couldn’t figure out why. They did what they could, but it didn’t look good. He hung in there for awhile, but that Thursday night, his stats dropped very low – dangerously low – and they couldn’t get him stable again. We were called, and we came. They found that fluid had filled his lungs. He had an infection – the deal breaker, we knew. And, it was time to let him go.

It was my husband who finally came to the decision to let him go. And I had to let him make that decision. As cowardly as it may seem, I couldn’t do it. Sure, I said goodbye and I made my peace, but I couldn’t bring myself to say those words to the doctors.

We held him on Friday, the 27th for his last 2 hours of life and for the very first time in his entire life… we watched him slip away, and we comforted him during his last moments as we sent him off into Heaven, knowing we’d see him again one day. He fought right up until the end. He helped save his brother and sister, and we believe he touched many lives with his fight and his story…

It had been 44 days since I cried. I tend to only cry when I’m frustrated or angry. Sometimes when I’m overwhelmed, but rarely when I’m sad. But, I cried. I lost it. Hyperventilated when the doctors took him off the machines. Maybe I was mad at the world in that moment, I don’t know…

IMG_5427

I only cried a few times in the weeks after. Something in me knew I had to keep going for my survivors. I was still in the thick of it and needed to focus on them. I think I made a conscious decision to choose to be okay. I wanted to celebrate the 49 days I had with him, and not mourn what I wouldn’t have in the years to come. This perspective is what gave me hope and allowed me to move on. Granted, I did have emotional affects from the experience and had a bout with post-tramatic stress disorder, especially once both his siblings came home – and he didn’t.

Carter announcement

All this is hard to hear – and write – but it needs to be shared. It’s one of the unfortunate realities of having a preemie. It’s why the research and the support and all the community surrounding it is so important. It’s why my husband and I do a yearly fundraiser and are in the process of forming a non-profit. You can actually participate in this year’s fundraiser currently by going here.

I do want to end on a positive note… today, Braden and Tenley are about to turn two. They’re thriving, overcoming obstacles, hitting milestones, and making us feel blessed in every way. Yes, they’re preemies. But they’re more than that. They’re fighters. Survivors. Miracles. And, they’re my gift.

then now

SMALLtwobirds9604

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Twinfant Tuesday: On the Clock

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Categories Attitude, Balance, Breastfeeding, Feeding, Feeling Overwhelmed, Fertility, Infertility, Pregnancy, Sleep, Twinfant TuesdayTags , 6 Comments

Hello all-

Our twins are 8 weeks old today, and in the past 8 weeks, there have been countless topics I wanted to write about.  Among them: how it’s possible to have a beautiful birth of your babies even after bed rest, preeclampsia and a magnesium drip, how no one REALLY explains how hard breastfeeding is to you before you have babies (much less, breastfeeding twins), and something about the sleep deprivation (if I had more sleep, I could have said that more articulately).

http://hdydi.com/2013/09/17/twinfant-tuesday-on-the-clock/But, what has been the most difficult adjustment, and perhaps the only thing that has truly surprised me about being a new mom, is the grueling feeding schedule.  Feeding two hungry mouths every three hours was much more challenging than I anticipated.  For some reason, it didn’t occur to me that it would really require two adults to do so, and that it would take nearly the whole three-hour window before the next feeding to complete the cycle.  All this made me start thinking about the timeframes I’ve been bound to in the last two years and how a biological clock isn’t just about trying to have kids before various risks increase.

Pregnancy

  • 40 – The number of weeks all multiple pregnancies strive to get to.
  • 38 – The number of weeks we all secretly could tolerate getting to.
  • 35.6 – The number of weeks I made it to in my pregnancy.
  • 32 – The number of weeks in my pregnancy before being put on bed rest.
  • 28 – The number of weeks in my pregnancy before I really had any complications. (First one was pubic symphysis dysfunction, followed by preterm dilation, then preeclampsia.)

Infertility treatment

  • 16 – The number of months we tried to get pregnant before our successful IVF treatment.
  • 9 – The number of months I was on hormone treatments before getting pregnant.
  • 10 – The number of weeks I took daily progesterone shots during pregnancy.
  • 2 – The number of weeks in a cycle I felt I lived my life on before this: the two week wait to ovulate, then the two week wait to find out if I was pregnant.

Parenthood

  • 3 – The number of hours between feedings.
  • 1.5 – The number of hours I usually have between feedings to shower, feed myself, clean bottles or pump parts, close my eyes for a bit.
  • 1 – The painfully slow number of hours it currently takes my daughter to finish a bottle.

I recall being anxious to get off of the “two week wait to ovulate/two week wait to find out if I was pregnant” schedule. Silly me. I didn’t realize how the scheduling would just take another form.

And I recognize that it will be this way always. It just will be a soccer practice, or school or day camp that is dictating my clock instead of ovulation or weeks of  gestation.

In the meantime, my daily goal is to focus on the moment instead of when the clock will alert me to the next deadline.  To try to appreciate my little ones in this very innocent, sweet time.  To take the time to feel the love and support that has been brought into our house by all the visitors and family support, knowing the visits and support will someday end.  To try to laugh at the things that sleep deprivation has caused us to do (ie, pumping without bottles attached for a good 3-4 minutes before feeling warm milk on my lap).  To open my heart and my life to these two little beings I’m getting to know more and more each day.

What was your favorite memory of being in the moment when you first brought your babies home?

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Monday MoM Blog Picks

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Diana Wrote: Again

http://dianawrote.comDiana Wrote used to be Hormonal Imbalances. I mentioned Diana’s newborn son Kaden’s health challenges in my Monday MoM Blog Picks last month. I’m sorry to report that in Again, Diana writes about the loss of a third son, only 3 weeks old. In a subsequent post, Finding Comfort After Loss, she talks about how there is no right way to grieve, just as there is no right way to parent twins, as Janna wrote about earlier today.

Twiniversity: My Road from PCOS to Twins

http://www.twiniversity.comYes, we get frustrated with the constant question, “Are they natural?” Let’s be honest, though. While some of us are blessed with spontaneous multiples, infertility is a reality in the MoM community. In this post, Michelle Cleary talks about Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) as a reality in her everyday life, not just as a medical condition known to us only in the third person from medical journals. Michelle describes her post best: “I’ll tell you the medical meaning, but then I’m going to tell you my story and how I live with it every day. You’ll see how different the two really are.” Michelle’s girl/boy twins are now 4 years old.

Talk About Twins: What I Want My Boys to Know About Girls

talkabouttwinsChristina Baglivi Tinglof writes at Talk About Twins and is the mother of 3 teenage boys, twins and a singleton. In this post, she jumps into the pool of thoughtful parents responding to Miley Cyrus’ questionable display to discuss how to raise her boys to be good men in today’s world.

 

What have you read in the blogosphere this week that the HDYDI community should check out?

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