Thursday, December 19, 2013

Guest Blogger - A way to fertility young or old

I am very happy to share a guest blog with my followers. Lauren Haring does such inspirational work with young cancer patients who want to ensure they can have children in the future.



Delaying Pregnancy

By Lauren Haring, RN, BS, ASN

An increasing number of women are delaying childbearing until later in life, whether by personal choice or due to medical reasons. However, fertility declines with age, especially after age 35, as part of the natural aging process. Unfortunately this cannot be reversed, but technology now exists that allows women to make a conscious decision and preserve their fertility until they are ready to have children. In essence, this offers a woman the ability to ignore her biological clock and focus on her career, finding Mr. Right or fighting a life-threatening illness.

Benefits include more time and flexibility to decide when to have a family, improved chances of conception with a woman’s own eggs in the future and even a small modicum of power when facing a disease that could possibly render a woman sterile through treatments such as chemotherapy and/or radiation. This predicts that a woman in her 40s would significantly improve her chances of a successful pregnancy if she were to use eggs that were frozen when she was in her 20s or 30s.

Not every woman is a good candidate for egg freezing. Diagnostic testing should be performed in the early part of the menstrual cycle including blood tests and a transvaginal ultrasound to assess ovarian reserve. A reproductive endocrinologist reviews the results, and the physician creates an individualized treatment plan. Once a cycle is coordinated, a woman will take fertility medications to stimulate the ovaries to produce multiple mature eggs in a single cycle. Frequent office visits are required over an 8- to 12-day period to monitor the progress and determine adjustments to the medication prior to scheduling the egg retrieval. It is an outpatient procedure done in the office under anesthesia, and most women return to work or their normal activities the following day.

This advancement in medicine has brought new hope to those diagnosed with many different forms of cancer, with the largest group being breast cancer patients. One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. Some may not have families yet or even be married, but they’re facing treatments that might not allow them to take that journey. This is where egg freezing can help take the pressure off and allow a woman to focus on the emotional and physical goal of getting well without having to worry about their future fertility. They can concentrate on getting through their cancer treatments knowing their eggs are safe and sound until they’re through the battle and ready to use them.

Many women think of egg freezing as an insurance policy that allows them to breathe a little easier and not regret the reasons they have to delay creating or adding to their family. While there are no guarantees that a frozen egg will lead to a future pregnancy and live birth, taking control and being proactive can increase a woman’s overall chances for a child later in life.

Lauren Haring, RN, BS, ASN, graduated from the University of Florida and began her career at GIVF in 2004 after graduating from nursing school. She is currently working to provide fertility preservation services for patients undergoing cancer treatment.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Guest Blogger - Love to Share the Knowledge!

I am very happy to share a guest blog with my followers. Here are some tips on how to choose a preschool from Diane Stata-Heintz with the Children in the Shoe. (



Eenie, Meenie … A Better Way to Choose a Preschool

By Diane Stata-Heintz

Selecting a preschool is an important decision. You are entrusting this school to help your child develop a love of learning and prepare your child for the demands of primary school. With so many preschools to choose from, it can be difficult to wade through all the options.

Start by touring as many preschools as possible to get a feel for the different philosophies. It’s important to see a center in action. You may go in thinking a Montessori program is what you want and come out thinking you are more in line with a play-based program. Your “parental gut” should be the ultimate barometer on which preschool will be right for your child and your family.

Keep these questions and tips in mind when vetting a preschool:

• Is there an emphasis on social and emotional development? Social and emotional skills are what most affect school adjustment. A child who is confident can work independently, regulate emotions, interact positively with peers, problem solve, follow directions and communicate wants and needs; it is this child who will have a more successful entrance into primary school than children who do not build their social and emotional skills at the preschool level. Eenie, Meenie … A Better Way to Choose a Preschool

• What does the classroom look like? Are there many different “interest areas?” Are they distinct from one another? A well-intentioned preschool will have many ways to play, such as a dramatic play area, block area, library, writing center, science corner and more. Children need choices to address their individual learning styles and temperaments.

• Does the classroom showcase the children’s artwork? Doing this lets the kids know their work is important and meaningful. Also, look for diversity in the artwork. For example, if a child draws a picture of a face and puts an eye where the mouth would go, that’s okay! If a child chooses to put only a nose on a face, that’s okay too. He is a minimalist! This reflects a child’s individual creativity and learning style. Remember that it is about the process, not the finished product!

• Is the preschool’s curriculum creative and emergent? A creative and emergent approach to curriculum allows teachers to design lessons around the children’s interests. When children are engaged, they are excited, curious and intensely involved in learning experiences that are meaningful to them.

• Get the preschool directory and call a few of the parents. A beautiful website and marketing materials do not make an excellent preschool. A few referrals from existing parents are priceless!

Ask yourself what overall skills are important for your child to have to be successful in school? Here are some skills and traits that are important to me as a parent:

• Be a good friend
• Confidence
• Perseverance
• Regulate emotions
• Creative and humorous
• Love learning
• Think critically

Whichever preschool you choose, make sure you are comfortable communicating with the directors of the center and the teachers in the classroom. Communication in the parent-teacher partnership is key to your child’s early development!

Diane Stata-Heintz is executive director at The Children in the Shoe Child Care Centers and Preschools. She lives in Chevy Chase with her husband, Jon Heintz, and their three young children.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Find the Meaning for your Season

How much is enough?

Every holiday season we are given the “opportunity” to buy gifts, or cards, or both for all those important people in our lives. I know, “opportunity” may seem like a stretch, but when I think about it, I really am grateful to be able to gift my love and thanks to all the important people in my life.

The problem is our “opportunity” to give becomes “pressure” to perform with all those BUY, BUY, BUY messages that inundate us at this time of year. I’m not naïve, I know what makes the economy turn and grow. I’m a small business owner after all. Our shopping and spending really does make a difference.

So maybe it’s a balance issue? I’m pretty sure something has to give for me. I get so stressed out this time of year - along with what has to be the vast majority of Americans. And I have to say, parents have the distinction of topping the max-stress list! The solution we often hear is to downsize gift giving. But I wonder if fewer gifts is really the answer to our holiday pressure problem.

It hit me recently when my husband forwarded me an email he normally would consider “spam.” Since Doug, in over thirty years of marriage, has effectively never sent me such an email, I clicked on it at once. I’m glad I did. His email made me realize that all my holiday to-do’s were not necessarily the issue, it was my attitude toward them.

The email included the slide show (YouTube link below) - I summarized it in this blog so you can skip the video....  It's a mix of breathtaking photos, appealing music, and a message so appropriately simple, I wondered how I didn’t just “know” the truth of it already.

“If you could fit the entire population of the world into a village consisting of 100 people, that village would consist of:

57 Asians
21 Europeans
14 Americans (North, Central and South)
8 Africans

6 would possess 59% of the wealth, and they would all come from the USA.
80 would live in poverty.
50 would suffer from hunger and malnutrition
1 would own a computer
1 (yes, only one) would have a university degree

If you currently have money in the bank, in your wallet and a few coins in your purse, you are one of 8 of the privileged few amongst the 100 people in the world.

If you have a full fridge, clothes on your back, a roof over your head and a place to sleep, you are wealthier than 75% of the world’s population.”

The message closes with “If someone sent you this message, you’re extremely lucky, because someone is thinking of you, and because you don’t comprise one of those 2 billion people who can’t read.”

It’s the rare “spam” email where its only agenda is to make you think. The presentation lays it out for us: we are lucky. So very lucky. Just reading this magazine means your day is a success (we work hard to make it a great read, but that’s not so much the point here!).

I want to hold on to my awareness of ALL I have as I start to shop and stress along with everyone else this season. I plan to buy gifts and will inevitably buy too many - like always. I’ll just be bringing a new perspective to the party. I have nothing to prove, the stuff doesn’t matter – my gifts will be my way to share the bounty, the luck, we enjoy in this country.

So join me in counting your blessings this holiday season? I’ll go first…I have a great family. Four wonderful, healthy children (and their children!). A husband I adore – who loves me right back (and takes me dancing quite often!). A successful business staffed with great folks. My list could go on and on.

As I was preparing to write my blog this month, I looked back over the December issues of years past to see what I had to say in my previous holiday blogs. And what do you know, two years ago I wrote about a wonderful trip my husband and I took with our youngest daughter and her then “boyfriend.” I’m smug in the knowledge that even then I thought this boyfriend might be “the one.” And he was/is! So to my list of things to be thankful for this holiday season, I add my future son-in-law who is a very outstanding young man.

It’s such a great feeling to be exhausted by the sheer number of reasons to be thankful! I wish you the same exhausting holiday experience!

‘Til 2014 - also known as the year of Brittany’s wedding in my circles….