Friday, January 29, 2016

Let's Do Another IUI

I AM NOT A QUITTER.  I don't give up easily and I don't throw in the towel at the first sign of trouble.  My life has included a few unfortunate events; some within my control and others completely out of my control and this, my friends, is out of my control.

But do you know what is?  How I respond to it.  How I react to the situation that is presented before me is completely up to me.  And I choose to keep the faith, remain calm in the face of fear and keep moving forward.

I don't look back on what happened the first time.  In fact, I make it a habit to leave the past where is lies, in the past.  I do this for two reasons, one because carrying the burden of the past becomes heavy over time and two, no two journeys are the same.  That goes for infertility for each individual as well as across the infertility community.  So as we begin IUI#2, the only thing that we carry forward is the cost....HA!  Current cost of our Infertility Journey is $5327....more on that HERE.


So Monday 01.28.2016 was baseline day for our second IUI.  So we found ourselves in the ultrasound room, alone, getting undressed for the old wand in the lady bits..."we" is code for "me" because let's be real, how awkward would it be for our ultrasound tech to come in to both Daddy Bun and I naked from the waist down?  I'm sure she would not think it is as funny as I'm thinking right now...so we will maintain status quo with one person getting undressed and hopping on the table in the stirrups.  And that person is me!

The baseline went great, my lining was at a 2.3 which is excellent for a CD4 scan.  We were put back on the Letrozole, 5mg for five days.  We return 02.01.2016 (CD11) for an update scan to check the follicle growth and determine when to trigger.  We are hoping that by Friday we will be back in the TWW.

Will this be IT?  Only time will tell.  Are we ready for either way?  That, I can answer....YES we are ready either way!
 

Friday, January 22, 2016

The Great Makeup Swap - The Completed Project


This is a project I started after reading the book It Starts With the Egg by Rebecca Fett.  So, if you're just arriving you can get the scoop on this new series by checking out my first three posts:

The Great Makeup Swap Begins

TGMS - First Steps - Where to Shop

TGMS - The New Holy Grail of Bronzers



I went crazy during this Two Week Wait as this was our first round at TTC with Science.  On Friday January 8 we did an IUI at FertilityCARE in Winter Park, FL.  I had two weeks before I could test for a BFP....and let me tell you, every day was like a year!   In an effort to stay AWAY from symptom spotting and peeing on anything that resembles a stick, I focused all my energy in switching all my toxic, paraben laden beauty products with new, safer options.  Today marks the end of my TWW and the beginning of a new cycle as this IUI was not successful.  We will continue the TTC journey in February.

For a makeup addict like me, this was an exercise in patience and disappointment.  Patience because not every product is going to be entered in the databases you search for toxicity and thus I'm left searching individual ingredients...let's just say I have spent hours checking products only to learn that they are not suitable for the vanity any longer.  Disappointment because I LOVE makeup and the thought that these products contain things like Triclosan, which is directly related to diminishing reproductive health are just disheartening!  I'm paying upwards of thousands of dollars to achieve a viable pregnancy and I'm actually working against my efforts with beauty products.
So let's review a product that made the cut!  What?!  There were products that were safe in my arsenal already?  Well, not exactly, but let me explain...

In the interest of full disclosure, I am not going 100% on this routine.  And let me tell you why. For starters, I think I would drive myself crazy, as indicated by my weekend activities.  I think making some immediate changes are a great start and I will continue to do that.  But secondly, I have come to realize that some of the products rated in the half-way point between "Toxic" and "Safe" are simply not applicable to me.  So I will be keeping some products that are simply paraben and phthalate free and I am OK with that.  A great example is my Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation (pictured on the right).  This is a wonderful full coverage foundation.  It holds well in the humid Florida sun which is great for this gal!  This gets a rating of 4 on Think Dirty.  I reviewed the ingredients and I'm OK with it being a 4.  Now that you've met one the product to stay in my vanity, let's meet a few more products making an exit and what skin-friendly products that replace them.

On the left we have a few bumped out of the vanity and their replacements.  Starting at the top left are the OLD highlighting products I used above my cheekbones to give me that sparkle in the light.  Becca Shimmering Pressed Powder, L'Oreal Lumi Highlighter and Starlooks...two of these products just sat in my vanity because I'm a Stage Five Highlighter Clinger.  Top left are the REPLACEMENTS!!  First by Vapour Organic Beauty.  Vapour is a great product and I am really growing to love their twist up stick products.  This is called the Halo Illuminator and runs $36, which is steep in the beauty bin.  Vapour will give you FIVE samples for $15 plus shipping from ANY of their products.  I've tried several products and this was my favorite.  The second was a Jelly Pong Pong All Over Glow, I just like saying the name PONG PONG!  This is a paraben and phthalate free natural formula that I received in a Boxy Charm box.  While I'm not a huge fan of this product, I did keep it in my vanity as a backup to the Vapour.  I am still on the lookout for a good drugstore choice in the highlighter department.

Moving on to the bottom left you will see me bid farewell to Ben Nye Banana Powder, unfortunately, this formula is no longer safe for Future Little Bun what with the Methylparben, Propylparaben, and Butylparaben ingredients.  It was an easy switch to Root Pretty Setting Silk which is a white powder but applies translucent.  This cuts the shine right off my face which is GREAT when you're not a fan of shimmery dewy makeup.  This Setting Silk is $10 y'all so it's a great deal!

Last but surely not least is the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer.  I cannot live without eyeshadow primer y'all, my eyelids are like tiny oilslicks by the end of the day so I was THRILLED TO BITS to find that Elf Cosmetics made an eyeshadow primer that was free of all the GUNK in the UD primer and costs a fraction of the price.  This was a $3 replacement of a $20 product.  You really cannot beat that, and IT WORKS.


Notice the similarities between the UD Smokey Palette which is a paraben laden product and the Coastal Scents Smokey palette, I mean talk about a perfect dupe without the parabens and phthalates.  The concern I have with that Coastal Scents palette is the list of products it "might" contain.  Most brands have one or two ingredients that "might" be in a product, but The Coastal Scents palette was actually longer than the ingredients.  Also exiting stage left is the SmashBox Double Exposure Travel Palette, a Nyx eyeshadow in a beautiful green and my MAC Carbon eyeshadow.  While I haven't received my replacement for the Nyx, I have ordered Pine, a single pressed pan from Root Pretty that will most certainly become a favorite in my vanity.

So what the heck made the cut?  How does one replace all of this color in a two week period?  Simply put, you don't.  Acquiring a collection like this in organic products is going to take a little time.  But I have some replacements that blew my mind and I'm excited to share them with you.

Meet The Replacements!  These are three brands from three price levels.  First, is Lily Lolo.  This 8 color palette available HERE is 100% natural and is while it lacks   gmo, gluten, nano particles, talc, additives, harsh chemicals, and other questionable ingredients...it is NOT LACKING in pigment and quality.  This little palette packs a PUNCH in the organic department and runs $34.  The palette is smaller but in my opinion it perfectly replaced both the UD Naked Smokey Palette and the questionable Coastal Scents palette.

Second is my new favorite small time organic seller, Root Pretty.  Y'all I swear I do not work for Root Pretty but this has quickly become a favorite brand for me.  Pictured are three eyeshadow samples which arrive FREE with every order as well as Stiletto, her matte black pressed pigment (currently waiting on a restock of her empty palette to store my lovely pressed pigments).  These also pack a punch of color without punching your wallet!  Each color runs between $8 for loose powders and $12 for pressed pans.  That's over 30% less than my staple MAC carbon powder!
And finally, the little three shade palette you see at the bottom right is by Pacifica Beauty.  I bought that at Target which stocks the brand making it my favorite department store organic brand.  It's not as pigmented at both Lily Lolo and Root Pretty, but it is available at your local Target (store finder) which makes it easily accessible and it was ONLY $6!!  Score!!

Old mascaras on the left, new mascaras on the right!
Moving on to the mascaras, you will only see a FEW of my stash in this photo because I recently did a mascara search and destroy, meaning I searched for the perfect formulas and destroyed everything else standing in my way.  I was a big Better than Sex fan by Two Faced.  There were about six mascaras that were cut from the stash as they were no match for my replacements seen on the right by Lily Lolo (again) and Physician's Formula Organic Wear.  Be careful to choose the Organic Wear for the Physicians Formula as they have SEVERAL products that are paraben filled.  I'm not a HUGE fan of the Organic Wear but I want to have a product available via drug store for my friends who shop locally and don't have time to wait for shipping.  The Organic Wear has one of those big plastic brushes and I'm just more of a classic lash wand gal.  The formula is soft and doesn't make your lashes feel hard so it's easy to apply several coats without getting those ghastly spider lashes.  Now, the Lily Lolo, that is a mascara I can love.  It's got a soft wand, thickens and lengthens my lashes and leaves them soft and natural.  It won't give you extreme falsie looks but just enough to say WOW, those are fabulous lashes.  I receive compliments on them today!  These will make a nice little home in my organic arsenal.    





The biggest cuts were in the Lips and Liners area.  Check out this BEFORE and AFTER collage!  I literally dumped all my lipsticks, lip glosses and lip stain and started fresh after I realized that most, if not ALL of them were riddled with ingredients that do your body BAD.  I'm not a huge lipstick fan anyway, unless it's RED and I will be on the hunt for that perfect stain as time marches on.  But for the most part, I'm just a simple gal who doesn't care for a ton of color across my lips.  I switched out for Root Pretty's Pretty Balm and Burt's Bees gloss and tinted lip balm.  I was surprised to find a few items made the cut from my BirchBox by BellaTerra Cosmetics but as you can see, my lipstick container was naked by the time I was complete.







In the liner department, as I may have mentioned I am an eyeliner JUNKIE, I have over 15 different liners, some were not even pictured in this hazy powder coated mess.  Black liner is a NECESSITY for me and I was thrilled to replace those with three, count them THREE perfect alternates.  First is Root Pretty Liquid Liner and this liner is the BOMB.COM.  I was blown away by the ease of application, the staying power and the matte black pigment. I use a pencil from time to time so Lily Lolo is a great recommended product for those who love that application!  I also don't hesitate to use a wet eyeshadow as a liner as well, my Root Pretty Stiletto powder is a perfect compliment if I'm feeling lazy with the liquid.

Check out this amazing wing I got from my Root Pretty Liner?  Talk about sweeping me off my feet with that pigmented matte black finish!  SWOON!!





How did it all shake out?  Here is my Organic Face (except that Kat VonD Foundation).  Everything in this collage is linked up below.  What do you think?  I was THRILLED with the final results from my Great makeup Swap!  I never thought I could get this look using organic beauty products!  While my collection is smaller and less "glamorous" without those prominent names you see in Sephora and Ulta, I am really excited with the way this project ended.  I feel like I've made some great strides in improving my reproductive and overall health!! 

Primer: Root Pretty Pretty Minerals in Lightly Medium ($22)
Foundation: Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation in #44 ($35)
Under Eye Concealer: Root Pretty Hello Pretty Under Eye Brightener ($18)
Bronzer: Root Pretty Sunkissed Bronzer (featured in this POST) ($11)
Blush: Root Pretty Blush in Macy ($12)
Highlighter: Vapour Organic Beauty Halo Illuminator ($36)
Eye Primer: Elf Eyeshadow Primer ($3)
Eyeshadow:  Lily Lolo Laid Bare Palette (using Stark Naked, Shy Away, Birthday Suit) ($34) AND Root Pretty Pressed Pan in Stiletto (on the corners) ($12).
Eyeliner: Root Pretty Liquid Liner ($16) on the top and Lily Lolo black liner on the waterline ($16)
Mascara: Lily Lolo  ($19)
Lips: Burts Bees Lip Gloss in Strawberry ($5)
Setting Powder: Root Pretty Setting Silk ($10)

Thank you for taking this journey with me and helping me enjoy my TWW without worrying about peeing on sticks or what kind of cramp I was feeling...focusing my energy elsewhere is a big help.  If you're on your TWW and you're looking for ways to spend it, check out my post HERE on The Infamous Two Week Wait.

I was not paid to use or review these products, they're just part of my journey to a more healthy lifestyle.


Do you have a favorite product you want to switch out?  
Let me know and I'll be happy to research for you!


Do you have a favorite natural product you think I should try?  
Comment below and share your faves!


Thursday, January 21, 2016

A Hard Day at the House of Buns

I wanted this to be our first and only IUI.  But it won't be.  I've kept my focus these past two weeks on raising others up, because it is by lifting others that we ourselves are lifted.  It carried me through the longest TWW I've ever done. But the wait is over and a new cycle is beginning. I didn't even make it to test day. 

To be honest, I started testing days ago, my first at 7DPIUI to check to see if the Ovedril trigger was still in my system. It was the first positive sign I've ever seen on a test, and it was only the lingering trigger shot that put that extra line on the test.  It made me smile, even though it was only a drug making it positive.

As days went on and the negatives remained, I started to falter a little, but didn't lose the hope until today when I started spotting. It was then I knew that this IUI didn't take. As my veins ran cold, I thought back to the nights I wore socks to bed, and I hate socks in bed. I thought of the pineapple core that tasted like tree bark, the Pom juice I choked down, the organic Brazil nuts that cost $14....I thought of the many nights I ate warm soup to keep my womb warm, the things I did right, all those things I did right. But still the IUI did not take. 

I cried, an ugly cry, one that washed away the mascara and eyeliner, the organic makeup streaked my face like paint from a battle, another battle I lost. I laid alone in my bed, curled up in a blanket, and let the tears fall freely on my pillow as I had so many cycles before. 

This was our first chance, our first real chance to get pregnant with science. And it failed this time. And I let that failure wash over me, I let it soak in my soul, in my hear, in my mind. I waited for Daddy Bun to come home, my rock. The one who has stood beside me through so many cycles, unwavering in his loyalty to me. 

No matter the hardship, he has been there for me. No matter the pain, he has stood beside me. He is my life, my love, he is an anchor, keeping me grounded and stable in the storm. He came home with a card, I could barely read the words through my tears, but it reminded me again, that he is always here for me.  He is always here for me. That is why God gave him to me, because He knew of this struggle long before we did. And He knew I would need someone with a strong and caring heart to see me through it. 

So we call tomorrow to inform FertilityCARE that we will be in on Monday for a baseline ultrasound. We will start the Letrozole and we will do this again. This is only the beginning of our journey. We will do another IUI in February.  

We did not start this journey to quit. We are not losing hope or letting this take us down. This is a marathon, not a sprint.  We knew this would not be easy. And we are okay. I had my ugly cries. I allowed it to wash over me like rain, but like any storm, there is an end, and in the end, there is a rainbow of hope. 

We hold to that hope.  

Monday, January 18, 2016

Oh Nooo...It's the Two Week Wait UPDATED

For anyone facing infertility whether through IVF, IUI or even those just trying to conceive for the first time, they've probably heard or experienced...

THE INFAMOUS TWO WEEK WAIT!

ARRGGGGHHHH...the two week wait, shortened to TWW is the excruciatingly slow and hypochondria inducing time period between the day you ovulate or do an IUI or an embryo transfer and the date you take a pregnancy test, or in the five years I spent TTC without science, the day you find out you're still not pregnant...oh hey, no need to pee on a stick honey, you got your period!  

It's the time you take note of every cramp, every twinge in your ovaries or your lower back, every sniffle....you wonder if your sense of smell is heightened or if your friend forgot to shower, you're hungrier than yesterday, you get dizzy, you're nauseous, and with every single "symptom" you feel you're wondering IS THIS IT??  AM I PREGNANT?  SHOULD I TAKE A TEST??  


You search the Internet for clues.  With envy of those ladies who ended their TWW with positives, and shared heartache with those who did not...every single month becomes a TTB (ticking time bomb) while you're on the TWW roller coaster.  There is even a website dedicated to this time period...aptly named...TwoWeekWait.com 

As someone who's spent five years TTC naturally, I can tell you, I've had every pregnancy symptom known to man and even some that are not.  And I think it's a cruel punishment to have so many symptoms be similar between AF and a pregnancy.  I've spent countless dollars on early pregnancy tests, I've put hope into it, prayed for it, wished on it, dreamed about it...and every month ended the same way...a hopeless blubbering woman rationalizing the 50 ways I could have been better so it would have WORKED!

Ladies, we are all guilty of it...going over every detail of the TWW with a fine comb, wondering, did I eat something wrong?  Did I sleep wrong?  Should I have rested more?  Did I have to have that Coke last week?  Did I forget to wear socks?  Was my womb not warm enough?  Where did I go wrong!?  These negative thoughts and emotions and pinpointing where YOU went wrong for not getting pregnant are unhealthy and mind numbing.  I have spent hours pouring over internet articles telling me what to do and what not to do and I ended up with a BFN every time.  

The reality is, the TWW is different for everyone...  

A symptom that one woman experiences does not mean you will experience it, and being absent of that symptom does not mean you won't get pregnant.  I've put together some tips to carry you through this precarious time period in hopes we can all survive the TWW with a positive attitude no matter the outcome.  

I'm a seasoned BFN'er which means getting a BFN at the end of the TWW is neither new or as devastating as it once was...and if you ask Daddy Bun, it once was a terrible time for us both.  Oh yes ladies, if there is a partner in your life, that TWW is weighing on them too!

My Tips and Tricks to Get You Through the Infamous Two Week Wait

READ
The first thing I do during the TWW every single month is read a book that is NOT related to pregnancy, infertility, or TTC.  This month I picked up What Alice Forgot (available at Amazon here).  Reading from areas that are not pregnancy related keeps my mind off the TWW.  I usually read from my Kindle or my iPhone or my iPad but I also love to read an old fashioned book.  I chose this book off a recommendation from a TTC sister from Instagram and it's a great read about a woman (Alice) who wakes up after a tumble at the gym to discover she'd forgotten ten years of her life!    

CLEAN
Next, I try to choose one room in my house to clean...and I don't mean sweep and vacuum, I mean I start at the baseboards and work my way through every inch of that room, I clean the blinds, I wipe down the windows, I even rearrange furniture (with help, don't move big things without help!).  The corners are clean, even the closets get a really good cleaning.  Walls get wiped down, doors get fingerprints washed away, and I go through the rooms and select items to save and items to donate to our local church and Salvation Army.  This takes a day or two of my work week or an entire afternoon on a weekend.  I realize cleaning your house is not a FUN task, but you make a goal and focus on that goal to get you through.  It's important to set goals unrelated to the TWW and conquer them.  You get a good feeling when you accomplish things and BONUS...it's a clean room!

Speaking of cleaning...this TWW I started a series called The Great Makeup Swap.  I'm trying to remove some of the harmful products I use on my face and replace them with paraben and phthalate free options.  For a littl emore on that journey, you can check my blog posts under The Great Makeup Swap.  But beware, this can be overwhelming and sometimes disheartening.  But remember, the idea is to do what's best for your body during this TWW.  So don't feel like you must replace anything, or everything for that matter.  Just check out the idea that there are safer things to beautify your face.   

COOK
If there is one thing I hate to do, that is cook.  So why am I suggesting it?  Because it's a great time consuming and productive thing to do!  You spend time looking at recipes, choosing something to create, making it and then you get to enjoy the result.  My Grandma was a great cook and she passed some of her recipes down to me before she passed.  I like to pull out her old recipe book and take on a challenge.  This TWW I will be tackling her famous chicken and dumplings and I'll share the recipe in a later blog.  If you love to cook or hate to cook, the idea is the same, keep your mind focused on accomplishing that goal, and take it on with a positive attitude.  This gets you out of the house, unless you have every ingredient on hand (which I NEVER have), and gives you an opportunity to do something different.  I like to invite friends and family over to try my recipes.  They are sometimes met with squeals of joy and sometimes the silence while trying to figure out how to say it is horrible.

PAMPER
When TTC with science and no insurance coverage for infertility, funds to pamper can be hard to find.  Maybe you're just TTC and short of funds.  But pampering yourself is a great way to take the focus off the TWW.  I like to pamper with a facial at home.  I make way to the kitchen and boil some water with a little lavender oil.  Be careful because it gets hot!   Once the water starts steaming, I pour it in a glass bowl.  I use a hand towel to cover my face and I lean in (about 6" from the steaming water) and I breath deeply.  This smell relaxes me and calms my nerves.  The steam hydrates my skin, opens my pores and loosens yucky dirt and grime.  After ten minutes, I pour out the water and using cool water I rinse my face.  I pat dry with a towel and apply my favorite clay mask.  I prefer TruSelf Organics detoxifying mask (available here) but any clay mask will do.  WalMart has some great options for under $5.00.  While I'm waiting on my mask to dry, I scrub my toes and the bottom of my feet with a foot file.  I add lotion and massage them a little while I rub in the lotion.  Then I paint my toes.  While they dry, I wash off the mask and I add some moisturizer.  I use the moisturizer to massage my face like shown in this Wiki article (HERE).  When complete, I'm relaxed and pampered and painted!  And BONUS, I've massaged away that stress of the TWW.

PRAY
 This is something I am not so good at, praying.  I have trouble finding words to speak to God without asking for what I want.  So I try to focus my prayers on God's Plan for our Little Bun.  The TWW may end in a negative, and I know that.  I pray for my family, I pray for others TTC, I pray for peace during the struggle, I pray for calm in a storm of symptoms that may or may not wind up with a BPF.  I pray for clarity so I can understand the plan.  I pray for guidance so I know what to do next and how to start over if a negative comes my way.  And I thank God for this struggle.  Because were it not for this struggle, I would not be the woman I am today, sharing these tips with you right now.  Everything I have been through, every mistake I have made, every struggle I have overcome has brought me here.  To this point.

NETFLIX
Have you seen any good shows lately?  How about Making a Murderer?  It's a documentary about Steven Avery who was wrongly accused of rape and later accused of murder.  If you're wondering what to watch, check that series out on NetFlix.  It's sure to get your mind off of the TWW.  Not up for a documentary?  Check out New Girl, a funny comedy that I love.  Looking for a fictional drama, try Scandal.  The possibilities are endless with NetFlix and you can always pause to pursue another TWW activity if you don't want to sit in front of the TV.

You may hit a BFN at the end of your TWW.  But it's not the end.  It's not over.  It begins again.  There is another chance.  And you can make it through...I have made it through years of TWW's and I am here to tell you that you too can survive the TWW.  Besides, what else can you do?  

I hope these tips can help you get through that horrendous time.  I hope you smile when you pick out that book or you cook that recipe and think of NoBunInTheOven...because I am thinking of you!

Do you have any ideas for the TWW?  Is there something you suggest to help see a TTC'er through?  Comment below and I'll be sure to add it to the next edition!


  

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Great Makeup Swap - The New Holy Grail of Bronzers



HELLO my fabulous friends and welcome to the next installment of The Great Makeup Swap.  This is a project I started after reading the book It Starts With the Egg by Rebecca Fett.  If you're just arriving, you can get the scoop on this new series by checking out my first two posts:

The Great Makeup Swap Begins

TGMS - First Steps - Where to Shop

Today I am covering bronzer, so meet the products exiting my vanity.  Too Faced Soul Mates and Benefit Hoola Bronzer.  This collection is nothing like my foundation hoard because I truly thought the Hoola powder was the perfect bronzer for me.  I mean look at the Soul Mates compact, it was barely touched!  Mostly because when I got it I realized it had a horrible orange sheen on my cheeks and I'm just not in the market to look like an Oompa-Loompa from Charlie and The Chocolate Factory.  That Hoola powder is the second one I've owned and it was scraping the sides of the pan which meant it was time for a refill.  That matte coverage felt like true makeup love to me so I was sad to find it was riddled with parabens.   

So, now that you're caught up on what is going on, and you see the products that are leaving the vanity, let's hit the first new product that went to HOLY GRAIL status immediately.

This comes from Root Pretty which is a small company based out of  Waverly, Iowa.  It was founded by Krista Dolash in 2013.  The great thing about Root Pretty aside from the Vegan and Natural products she creates is that these items are at an excellent price point for the consumer.  You won't find $50 foundations or $30 blush.  Another benefit of Root Pretty is SAMPLES...yes you can get sample sizes of some of her products for $2 plus shipping.  Try a color before you commit to it!

Vanity Shot of the bronzer, applied under
cheekbones, across forehead and under jawbone.
So what product won my heart in one swipe?  The Sunkissed Bronze Powder.  When I swept this four ingredient mineral bronzer across my cheeks, I did a double take.


Could it be?  
The perfect replacement for my  Paraben-laden bronzer?   
It was!  

The chemical clouds parted and this Sunkissed Bronzer shined radiantly on my cheeks.  I was thrilled!  Immediately I ran outside to see if it was shimmery or sparkly and it was NOT!  It's the perfect color to contour my cheeks and to add a little color in these "winter" months of Florida.  While I like the ease of contouring with cream products, I find that they clog my pores around my hairline so I contour with powder products exclusively.  This bronzer is the perfect contouring color for my skintone.






Now, let's get to the details on this lovely product of perfection!  Here is a photo of the bronzer, and this features a locking sifter, so you can leave this open or lock it closed so no product escapes. I like to leave it halfway open so I can tap out a small amount and save product. 

Size: 0.2oz, 
Ingredients: Titanium Dioxide, Iron Oxide, Mica, Zinc Oxide. 
Cost: $11. 
Colors: Light, Original and Sunkissed.

SHUT THE FRONT DOOR, did I just write $11??  Yes, I did!  My chemical-laden Hoola bronzer was $30!  So not only am I losing the toxicity of five, count them five parabens, I am saving over 60% on the cost.  Do the makeup math folks, that is almost three for the price of one!  My wallet is singing praises to my face right now!


So let's review, there are NO parabens, NO fillers, NO phthalates, NO formaldyhyde, and NO cyanide in this product!  This meets my requirements for TGMS!  Now, I'm going to be straight up with you guys, the ingredients Mica and Titanium Dioxide are currently under hot debate in the cosmetic community.  But there is really no evidence that I can find that makes these two items toxic in my opinion.  If you have evidence that these are, in fact, toxic ingredients, I do encourage you to comment below or contact me using The Brains Behind the Blog section on the right column of this blog.  My aim is to find the right products for our skin and I am always ready to accept factual knowledge from a fellow reader or makeup guru!

So what if you're not a loose powder bronzing gal?  Is there an alternative?  A contouring stick perhaps?  Why YES, there is!!  It's made by Vapour Organic Beauty.  Vapour Beauty is another organic brand that will ship you samples.  For $15 you can select five different samples, from their foundation to bronzer to lip or eye-shadow.  So far I've tried a few of their items and their bronzer was included in my first sample purchase.  The Vapour Organic Solar Transleucent Bronzer glides on smooth and blends effortlessly with a sponge or brush. Now this is a pricier option, running at $36 for 0.24oz but if you're a real die-hard cream or stick bronzer gal, this could be the winning product for you.  If you decide to choose some samples from Vapour I suggest the bronzer as one of the five options to try!

But Hunny Bunny, I just want to drive down to the drug store and pick something safe, can I do that?? 

YESSSS you can my friends!  This product comes from Physician's Formula and is available at the drug store so you can just hop in your car and drive down and pick it up.  The product is Organic Wear Bronzer and PLEASE make sure you choose the correct one as Physician's Formula, despite the name, has many products that rate toxic!  No toxins for this girl!!  This runs about $14 and blends well into your skin, it sweeps on with an included flat brush and comes in light and medium formulas. Now I prefer medium but if you're a porcelain lovely, try the light.  I really like this as pressed powder bronzing option and it's usually just a drive away. 

But for me, I'm sticking with the Root Pretty, loose powder. It's perfect for my skin, only has four ingredients, and the locking softer really makes sure I don't use excess product. 

So now that I've left you with THREE potential bronzing options, in three different types, a loose powder, a pressed powder and a cream stuck, I happily bid farewell to Benefit Hoola Bronzer and say welcome home to Root Pretty Sunkissed Bronze Powder!

Keep checking back as The Great Makeup Swap continues!  


Disclaimer - I wasn't given this product or paid to review this product.  All opinions are mine and I just want to help others find their way to a beautiful face without the chemicals!







The Great Makeup Swap - First Steps - Where to Shop


Welcome, welcome, welcome to the second installment of The Great Makeup Swap!  For a look back at the products that took a hike form my vanity, check HERE and you'll also get a brief look as to what brought me here!

This is my TTC TWW Project.  My what?!?  If you're reading those words with confusion it's safe to assume you came here for the Makeup Swap and didn't realize you stumbled across an Infertility Blog.  But that's right y'all this is an Infertility Blog and while I'm moving slowly through the Two Week Wait between my first IUI and the day I can find out if it was successful, I decided to apply some of my knowledge from the book It Starts with the Egg by Rebecca Fett.  If you haven't read the book, you should check it out.  This book covers many obstacles that could be affecting the health and quality of your eggs, which could hinder pregnancy.  Even if you're not TTC, you could benefit from the knowledge this book provides.

One of the obstacles that could be affect my egg quality are parabens, phthalates and other toxic chemicals found in makeup.  NOOOOOOOOOO, not the makeup!!!!  My vanity of goodies from drugstores, ULTA and Sephora screamed in agony as I rifled through it trying to determine which products could stay and which products had to go based on their ingredients.  It was quite simple, step one, find a trustworthy source to seek out the toxicity of the ingredients.  Step two, let them go.

I chose the Skin Deep Cosmetics Database (HERE).  I can search by product, brand name or I can search by ingredient which makes this pretty comprehensive.  Sometimes the ingredient was easy to find, if it says the word PARABEN, you know it's toxic.  Other times, it's a little trickier as some products don't openly state their toxic ingredients.

If you have a ton of them like I did (to the left is my foundations and primers..as you can see, I have a bit of a problem in this department) you can even sell them on Glambot which is a site that you can send your used makeup and they will give you pennies (literally) on the dollar for the makeup you don't need.  Let's just say on my first attempt at selling to Glambot I sent well over 40 items, over $600 worth, many unused or used only once or twice and I was given about $100.  I guessed $100 was more than the NOTHING I was getting leaving them in a vanity drawer so I begrudgingly accepted it.  They sent me a free label and very specific instructions for packaging and within three weeks I had $100 in my hands for GUESS WHAT...more toxic makeup.  The catch is you have to have at least 20 items.  Since I had a full 15 shade MAC palette, and they count each shade as 1 item, I hit 40 pretty quickly.  But again, it was pennies on the dollar and a LOT of people were less than thrilled with the offers coming from Glambot.  If you don't like the offer, they will ship it back, at YOUR cost.  For me, I'm dropping toxic for natural and if I can get even $50 I will be happy.


Now, once you've discarded your toxins, you have to start replacing them.  (INSERT CHERUBS AND ANGELS SINGING HERE).  This was the best part of the Swap.  Buying NEW makeup!  But where will it come from?  What brand should I choose?  What if I hate it?  These questions flew through my mind.  So I began to study brands and websites that carried the products I sought.

As I studied, I came across my first two sites to use in lieu of shopping at Sephora and ULTA.  They were my go-to beauty sites where I could spend hours just staring at beauty products online and ogling over colors and liners and mascara, but when I realized most of the products offered were on my Graveyard list, I knew I had to find a safer place to drool over makeup.  And I found TWO!  Are there others?  I'm sure there are!  But these two are good enough for Hunny Bunny so give them a try.  If you're not satisfied, keep searching!  I'll be doing the same.  If you find another site that sells multiple brands such as these, let me know in the comments below!  The two I've fallen for are:



Both of these sites stock natural and organic beauty products. Credo Beauty even has a link to Clean Swaps, which is EXACTLY what I'm doing!  It has a vast list of products to swap out if you find your staples on the list.  Find the link HERE to the swaps!  What a great little assistant to help on the journey!

Now, I'm not saying every product will meet my personal requirements, but they sure pack a punch when it comes to a safer alternative to the toxins in most of my beauty products.  I recommend checking the ingredients on any and all products, even those listed as natural and healthy just to be safe!

I have already purchased a few things from a few different places and we will cover those in another post.  For now, check out your makeup arsenal.  See what toxins are in your products.  Decide to make a change.  And then do it, even if it is one product at a time!  A change doesn't need to be overnight.  It can be gradual.  Just pledge to make the change and keep taking those steps to improve.  I'm right here with you, every step of the way!


Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Great Makeup Swap Begins

After reading the book, It Starts with the Egg, by Rebecca Fett, I knew that Daddy Bun and I needed to make some changes to our lifestyle to ensure the quality of not only his swimmers, but my eggs, were in top shape.  This book was recommended to my by my friend Monica all the way up in Ontario, Canada!  If you haven't read this book, you simply must check it out.  If you're trying naturally or progressing into more aggressive attempts at fertility, this book is full of hints and clues as to what could be impacting your success.

Check it out here in paperback or even electronic form through Amazon: It Starts with the Egg

As a makeup addict and eyeliner junkie, I was nearly in tears at the horrible chemicals I apply to my face on the daily!  Soaking up into my skin were ingredients like parabens, phthalates and titanium dioxide...even Teflon...yes TEFLON!  These preservatives and chemicals are directly linked to reproductive health and here I was just smearing and spraying and blending them right into my skin.  These are HARMING my reproductive health.  Literally, my egg quality is diminishing at every swipe of color across my eyelids.  Is having a pretty face THAT IMPORTANT?

Well, actually YES IT IS!  And that, my friends, is why I started the hunt to replace every makeup product in my arsenal.  From the primer to the blush to the highlighter.  If it's chemical laden, it's going to the Makeup Graveyard.  The makeup graveyard is where makeup goes to die.  In all my years of collecting mascara after mascara after mascara (yes there are that many) those that don't make the cut go straight the the graveyard (more commonly known as the second drawer in my vanity).  So let's review my current hoard of makeup to be replaced.  Now, don't get me wrong, there are tons of products in my drawer but these are my go to products, my tried and true favorites, my "needs" which must be replaced.

To give you a realistic view of the costs of these items and the costs to replace these items, I am fully disclosing the cost of the makeup which will be going to the graveyard.  This means a lot of makeup costs will be out in front for Daddy Bun to see....so if you find I never post again, it's likely because I too, have gone to the graveyard after these costs are disclosed.  But THISSSSS is the stuff I am willing to do so that we can all have chemical free faces!

So let's get to it!  Again, these are not ALL the products, who has time for that, LOL, but these are what I would consider my must-haves.

FACE:


Primer: Becca Ever Matte Poreless Priming Perfector ($36) - This is my holy grail of primers.  I have yet to find anything to match the work that this primer does.  Unfortunately this primer has two kinds of parabens....Methylparaben and Propylparaben which make it a NO-NO for Hunny Bunny.

Foundation: Dior Airflash Foundation ($62) - Again, my HG of foundation.  It took me years to find that perfect formula to make my skin look so perfect and GUESS WHAT...Methylparaben and Propylparaben again.  Which means this lovely can of perfection must go.

Finishing Powder: Ben Nye Banana Powder ($12) - suggested by a friend which quickly rose to HG status, this loose powder is riddled with parabens like Methylparaben, Propylparaben, and Butylparaben...making yet another product achieving Holy Grail status stricken from the vanity.


CHEEKS:

Benefit Hoola Powder ($29) - this was my favorite matte bronzer and I have hit pan on this several times meaning I've used this OVER and OVER again.  But alas, the ingredients include at least FIVE, yes FIVE, parabens which means the Hoola gotta hula out!
Bronzer:

Blush: Nars Blush ($30) This was not a HG item, it just happened to be the blush of the moment so I'm really not sad seeing this going to the graveyard because guess what, PARABENS!

Highlighter: Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector ($38) I like how this proclaims boldly on Sephora that it has no parabens...is that really important when one of the ingredients is Tetrasodium EDTA... which is formaldehyde and sodium cyanideRead that again...formaldehyde and sodium cyanide!!!  Sure let's just swipe that across my cheekbone tomorrow...NOT!!

EYES:

Eyeshadow Primer: Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion (original) ($20) - I feel like I finally hit a product that isn't loaded with parabens and toxic ingredients, but there are a few ingredients that hit a nerve with me including Cyclopentasiloxane and PEG-40 Stearate (WHATTTT??  These are potential cancerous products and they don't effect reproductive health, but since we are cleaning it out, this primer has got to go too).

Eyeshadow: MAC Cool Neutral Palette ($85) and Urban Decay Smokey Palette ($54) - I was so hesitant to look these up as these are my absolute favorite eyeshadows.  If I had another palette before these, it hit the graveyard long ago.  Both of these products contain talc, Phenoxyethanol, and Sorbic Acid.  These additives are going to my eyelids, the most delicate part of my face and they all have toxic properties that affect organ health, while it's not reproductive organs, it is still my body and I want this body to be as safe as possible for a little bun in the oven.  So bye-bye palettes, I am sad to see them go but I can't wait to be free of the toxins on my face.

Eyeliner: Kat Von D Tattoo Liner ($20) - Holy Grail of eyeliner, noting makes a qing quite like this and now it must go directly to the graveyard as it contains parabens as well.  I am slowly sinking into a depression as each item in my must-haves is being discarded for the toxic ingredients.

Mascara: Stila Huge Extreme Lash ($23) I was really excited to see that this is formulated without parabens, phthalates and sulfates, and as I searched out each ingredient I felt this COULD BE A KEEPER in my vanity...until I hit the Phenoxyethanol.  I don't want Phenoxyethanol in my makeup products!

Total Makeup Staples: 11.  Total cost: $409

As I review this list of my staple products and realize they all contain at least one or more toxic ingredients I wonder how badly I've affected my egg quality just by trying to "be pretty" by slathering makeup on my face every single day.  I'm disheartened by the ignorance of my quest to find a HG product without even consulting the ingredients.  Parabens affect egg quality.  Parabens I sweep on my cheeks or brush on my eyelids.  I must set out and replace all of these products with natural alternatives and I must do it without breaking the bank.

So if you're looking to find alternatives to your makeup, if you want to find products that are safe for your face, safe for your body and safe for the quality of your eggs, make sure you follow along as I find, purchase and compare items to do The Great Makeup Swap.  Not only do I seek to find products that are healthy for you, I am also trying to do it without breaking the bank.  I'll be trying drug store brands and high end brands in search of the best.  I'll be using small companies, large companies, local and international if I need to.  The quest is on y'all and I'm here to see it through.


Tuesday, January 12, 2016

The Bun's First IUI

Just waiting on Daddy Bun

Well that was really fast!  We completed the IUI on Friday.  The procedure came in two steps.  First, Daddy Bun had to provide a sample in the lab.  The lab is LITERALLY the building behind FertilityCARE.  Then the sample was washed down and the good swimmers were placed in a vial and taken from the Lab to the procedure room.  I think the IUI might have been faster than the walk from the Lab to FertilityCARE y'all...I mean really...it seemed like it was so fast.

And guess how they arrived?!  In a little red igloo cooler with a flip top!  I had to make sure the sample we got was, in fact, our sample.  I mean I've heard horror stories of mix-ups and I did not want to be a horror story!

So after carefully making sure the contents were, in fact, the Bun's, it was off to the procedure room to do the IUI.  Wow, I was a little nervous.  I mean, it's not every day the swimmers are literally placed closer to the motherland than ever before.  Whether or not one makes it, we knew for sure this was the BEST head start they've ever had!



TTC Greeting Cards LUCKY SOCKS
We went into the procedure room and I quickly got into proper position and made sure my socks were on correctly.  BOOM here are my "Stick Baby Stick" Lucky Socks from TTCGreetingCards.  You can get your own pair here:


OR on her Etsy Shop:


If you get there and she is out of stock of the Lucky Socks you want, and she might be as these are the most AWESOME TTC socks in the History of Everdom....make sure you follow her on Instagram for an update when she restocks.  In addition to the Lucky Socks, she has Lucky Shirts!  She also has the most AMAZING lineup of TTC cards.  There are cards for your doctor, cards for your spouse or partner, congrats cards, and cards for friends that are struggling to conceive.  Be sure you check out the her shop at one of the links!

Just beyond my socks on the table in the corner is the vial holding our potential Little Bun.  I can guarantee that when we show baby picture to our Little Bun, we will remind that kid that we had a photo of them before it all began.  But don't worry guys and dolls, that is the closest you will get to seeing that sample!

Amy, the IUI nurse, performed our procedure instead of Dr. Trolice.  I was a little surprised it was not Dr. Mark since he performed all the other procedures, but I trust Amy so I didn't have any qualms about her doing the IUI.  She had to use two different speculums because GUESS WHAT, my cervix was "hiding".  As she searched around for it, I thought to myself...well I didn't have any qualms about Amy doing it....but now I'm starting to wonder...so out went the classic nemesis speculum and she switched to what I considered the "big guns" which wasn't that different but it was different enough to hear the words "There it is!"  "Thank goodness!" I proclaimed, I didn't think I dropped it anywhere!


That part truly was the worst of the IUI.  Once she found my cervix it took about 60 seconds.  A syringe and catheter into the cuterus and she was done!  I laid there for a bit, marinating in the events that just transpired.  Daddy Bun was there for the whole procedure and held my hand as we waited.  For once, we knew with absolute certainty, that the swimmers made it farther than they'd ever gone before.  They were given a head start through the most difficult part of their journey to an egg.     

In fact, the first thing I wondered was how in the world do the sperm know where to go?  So my TTC Sisters on Instagram pointed me toward a documentary called The Great Sperm Race.  It's a fantastic look at the journey of sperm.  They actually "size up" sperm to human size and use people to represent the sperm.  Don't cringe, it's an amazing documentary!  You should DEFINITELY give that a google and check it out.  You learn about the treacherous journey that sperm take to get to an egg and it will leave you wondering how people get pregnant at all?  Let's just say, the odds are never in their favor!  And we got a shortcut past some of the most difficult obstacles!  In a fertile male, only about 3,000 sperm make it to the uterus and we deposited 7.5 million there!  Below is a link from Dark Roasted Blend that gives a great synopsis of the show.

check it out here: Dark Roasted Blend
  
This was not our best sample by way of count, however the motility was the best we've seen since we started TTC in 2007.  93% motility y'all...that's pretty amazing!  Dr. Witt likes to see the total count about 10 million for an IUI and post-wash we were 7.5 million.  Things went so quickly from the sonogram to the trigger shot to the IUI, I don't think we had enough time to get the best sample for this procedure.  But, like many people say, it only takes ONE good swimmer to get to that egg.  So we remain hopeful that this IUI will be a success.

We will keep you posted on our journey as we attempt to make a baby with the help of science!

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Ultrasound Update and TRIGGER TIME

Hello and HAPPY TRIGGER DAY to the Buns!  We have made it to Trigger Time which is a lot like "Hammer Time" just with smaller pants.

We did our baseline ultrasound on December 30 and started Letrozole that evening.  Now, infertility coverage and medication is NOT COVERED under our insurance and I think a lot of people struggling with infertility might be in this same boat so I want to give you a little medication hint...


We took our prescription to Publix and were going to drop it off but I asked, how much is this without insurance and the Pharmacy Tech told me it was $151.  For TEN PILLS.  I thanked him kindly and took back my prescription.  I then called Target and asked the same question and do you know how much it was....DO YOU KNOW??!!  Well I'm going to tell you, it was $13.  Say WHAT?!  Was that a typo, is it missing a zero?  NOPE, it was a $138 price difference between the pharmacies out of pocket costs.  So let me tell you, a bit of digging is a good thing when it comes to those uncovered medications.  If you take nothing else away from this blog, TAKE THIS INFO!

The Letrozole was quite an interesting experience.  I took to 2.5mg pills each night about 7:30 for five days.  In that time I experienced nausea, throwing up, dizziness, hot flashes and pulling/twinges in my lady bits.  I always hear of pulling and twinging and I'm like WHAT IS THAT...well now I know what they mean because it literally felt like someone was just pulling on my ovaries and while it was not comfortable it was not as bad as some cramps I've had in the past.  My last pills were Sunday, January 3 and for three days after I felt dizziness when standing up and sometimes just standing around.  I am not a fan of that feeling so I am glad that little experience is done.  I have a new found respect for my Clomid Sisters as I hear they go through a much more intense experience.



Today we headed over to FertilityCARE to get our second ultrasound to check the follicle growth.

When we arrive in the room, I'm instructed as usual to be all free and clear of clothing from the waist down.  I insist on doing something fun every time I come into the Ultrasound Room to meet with Mary, the woman who has seen the inside of my body just as many times as I have.  I have my trusty photojournalist Daddy Bun on location with me.

I decided it was the day to put on my signature sheet of shame and I crowned myself Queen of the Paper Sheet.  TADAAAA!   Then I replaced it in it proper area just as Mary was entering the ultrasound room.

First we checked my cuterus uterus and she was really pleased with the lining and I was really amazed at how much it changed from the first ultrasound.  The lining was right over 10mm which is perfect for a Little Bun to snuggle right into!  Next we rolled over to my right ovary, where I felt a lot of the pulling and twinges while on my Letrozole.  And HOLY COW there was a big one, a 24mm follicle just pulled ahead of all the others and shoved them out of the way saying PICK ME PICK ME!  That big empty circle is actually a follicle just waiting to drop an egg!  We also had a 17mm follicle on the left side, but it was nothing compared to this big guy!  Praying that actually releases an egg!



 Mary said she was pretty sure we would be heading off to trigger very soon and she left to give the results to Dr. Mark so he could decide the exact time to trigger.  We paid the $250 ultrasound fee and started home.  No sooner had we left the parking lot that Jessica called asking if I had my trigger shot with me....well, I didn't and the house was 1.5 hours from FertilityCARE.  So she relayed the message from Dr. Mark which was go home and TAKE THAT SHOT.  We scheduled the IUI for 11:30 tomorrow morning, a 24 hour wait between the trigger and the IUI.  Wide eyed I looked at Daddy Bun and said, you can do this right...give me the shot?  And he said YES which was a relief because I didn't actually want to give myself the shot.  If someone is going to mess it up, I don't want it to be clumsy little me!

So our trigger took about five seconds.  Daddy Bun was a trooper and did a perfect job.  The needle is so tiny, I didn't even feel it.  There was no bruising or bleeding or soreness from the shot.  It was easier than that Staples button...I mean it was THAT easy!  I was so surprised that, you can see that on my face in the Trigger Shot collage...I'm a big collage person, that way I can share a lot of pictures without being an Insta-Hog.  



Speaking of Instagram, I have several hundred TTC sisters on Instagram and we were all praying and thinking positive that today would go well.  AND IT DID!  It was an answered prayer.  It is not the end of this journey, but it's another step on the road and I am so thrilled to be sharing it with you all!  Talk about an AMAZING COMMUNITY of woman all going through similar struggles TTC.  Whether they're just getting started, doing IUI or IVF or even embryo adoption and donor sperm, we are a tight group set on encouraging other to keep pushing forward on this journey.  To remain hopeful and faithful on our journey.  To remind each other that this can be a sprint for some and a marathon for others and yet a trip around the world for a few.

Tomorrow is the IUI and usually the StorkOTC post but that is going to be on HOLD tomorrow so we can focus on the IUI.  But I will be continuing my Stork Trials NEXT WEEK!

Keep the faith y'all.  Stay positive in the struggle.  This could end good or bad, I'm not worried about that right now.  Today was a GREAT DAY!


 

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Stork Trials...Unboxing The StorkOTC

If you haven't been following my weekly updates on The Stork Trials, I encourage you to head to "The StorkOTC" part of my blog to catch up.  There you will learn a little bit about us, why we were chosen to have this device, and the plan for The Stork Trials.  If you are caught up, then read on my friends!  



This week we are unboxing The StorkOTC.  Before we begin with the unboxing, I have to say this: 

Please make sure that before you open The StorkOTC you wash your hands thoroughly so you don't get any germies on your device.  

I am not using it this week and it is not exactly "advised" that you unbox and take photos of The StorkOTC before you use it, just because it's not sanitary.  But guess what, that is just what I did today after making sure my hands were thoroughly cleaned.  I wanted to touch every piece, get a feel for the parts and report back to you all.  So you're lucky I'm a rebel y'all and I am doing it for all of us who really want to know!  



The StorkOTC comes in two parts, first an applicator and second, a Conceptacle which is a StorkOTC word for the soft cup like device that actually goes into your lady bits.  The  conceptacle is placed inside the applicator which has two "petals" that operate much like a flower, hence the name petals!  Once the Conceptacle is placed inside you pull back on the applicator and it closes the Conceptacle.  This allows you to securely insert it against your cervix without losing the contents.  The applicator is inserted and then using the cap release button, it pops right against your cervix.  Then you slide out the applicator which leaves the removal string exposed.  Guess what, that's all y'all!  Then you lay in bed, read a book, watch NetFlix, pet your fur family, or color in that new adult coloring book.  No legs up position required.  No blood rushing to your head, no piles of pillows under your bum, the Conceptacle just locks the swimmers in and leaves them to do their business while you go about doing your business.  This device is approved to rest in the bits for up to six hours, how many of us want to hang around upside down letting nature take it's course for SIX HOURS?  Not this girl!  Do you need to leave it in for six hours?  Heck no you do not, but did you know sperm remain potent for up to 24 hours?  So why not leave the odds in your favor and let The StorkOTC do the work it was designed to do?  



So now that I've given you the skinny on this thing, let's all head check out this quick video on The StorkOTC to see how it works...I mean I hope you did not think I was giving you a step by step visual aid because there are some parts of me only to be seen by Daddy Bun, oh and my RE...and the ultrasound tech, and the IUI nurse...jeez a lot of people have access to your lady bits when you're going through infertility!

 

Did you watch it?  Was it not amazing how this thing works?  And did you know this is the only FDA approved device to aid in conception.  Do you have any idea what it takes to get the FDA to actually approve your product?  Well...OK fine...I don't either but they don't put that stamp of approval on soft cups or other conception aids.  Only The StorkOTC has the seal of FDA approval.  

Speaking of soft cups, if you're like me you have probably seen them recommended on fertility forums and web forums and online shopping to aid in conception.  They're cheaper than The StorkOTC and by all means they are certainly a way to go if you find this method is too expensive for your conception wallet.  But for me, I don't like the idea of a soft cup.  There is no applicator for a soft cup, it's strictly your fingers doing the work.  How do you place it correctly?  How do you know those swimmers didn't spill out of the sides?  And how do you make sure you get it out.  Perhaps you're a soft cup enthusiast and these are all questions you have the answer to already, then maybe The StorkOTC is not for you.  But for a gal like me, knowing we have already invested thousands of dollars just to get answers as to our fertility issues, this is not a big investment for me and the benefit of the added applicator and removal string are a comfort to me. 


Now, let's talk about this device a little more.  As I mentioned earlier, this device comes with a Conceptacle, designed to slide right onto your partner much like a condom.  I've allowed hubby to check this out and he is pretty adamant that he does not want to put on the Conceptacle because of two reasons.  First, the material is thick and he is afraid that it will affect how everything feels down there.  Second, he is concerned that he will not get the cervical cap separated from the condom and in effect, have a spillage situation that will waste The StorkOTC and leave me staring in utter disbelief at a missed chance to get pregnant.  He does not want to be THAT guy.  

So there is a second method to getting this part done much like those using donor sperm would be doing.  That is to collect the sample using a specimen cup and then pour it into the Conceptacle.  This removes the worries about "the feeling" and it reduces fears about spilling as it's being removed from your partner.  There won't be "that guy" or the stares of disbelief or the dreaded, "OH MY HECK BABY WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?!?!" coming from me.  So if you are using donor sperm or your partner is like mine and is just not into the condom part of The StorkOTC, don't let it stop you, use the alternate method.  


There are some people TTC who are not good candidates for The StorkOTC.  The box indicates this is not a good product for people dealing with azoospermia (no sperm in semen), blocked fallopian tubes, anyone with an STD, loss of fallopian tubes and hysterectomy.  So if you fall in this category, you should not invest your money in this device.  Further, and this is my personal opinion only, I do not think you should use The StorkOTC if you are not ovulating or have trouble ovulating.  This is because The StorkOTC is used in conjunction with timing your ovulation.  If you cannot determine that, you should not invest in The StorkOTC.  In addition, if you have a dramatically low sperm count or very poor motility, I just can't recommend you use this device.  Again, it's not The StorkOTC telling you this, it's Hunny Bunny.  This is something you should discuss with your OB/GYN or your RE as I am not a professional.  I am simply a woman on the same journey as you.  


So who is the "right" candidate for The StorkOTC?  The StorkOTC is recommended for people TTC with a lower sperm count, low motility or an unfavorable vaginal environment.  It can be used by couples TTC naturally that are not dealing with any infertility problems.  It can be used by women TTC with donor sperm pending they do not suffer from the above mentioned issues.  Daddy Bun and I were considered the right candidate because I am considered "healthy" by my RE.  He has a lower than normal sperm count and motility.  These two reasons make The Buns a good candidate for The StorkOTC.  Are you in a similar medical situation as Daddy Bun and I?  Are you and your partner healthy and TTC naturally but you're just not getting that BFP?  Are you ovulating regularly and using donor sperm?  Then The StorkOTC might be right for you too!



Next week was supposed to be the week Daddy Bun and I were using The StorkOTC but after prayer and thought we have decided to proceed with our original plan of the January IUI.  So in lieu of my "Using The StorkOTC" post I will be sharing some reviews from websites including Amazon, Walgreens, CVS and The StorkOTC.  In addition, I'll be reviewing a few studies published on The StorkOTC to help us all get a good idea of how well this product increases our chances as conceiving.    

Do you have questions about The StorkOTC?  Post them below and I'll get to work on the answer!  Do you want to remain anonymous?  Just click to the right on Contacting the Brains Behind the Blog and send me an email!  

Daddy Bun and I thank you for following our journey and want to remind you that we are not being paid in any way for my Stork Trials, we were provided two devices to try to assist in our chances for a BFP so we agreed to check it out, give an honest review, and let you all know what we think!