Octuplets: The Controversy Over In Vitro Fertilization (Updated with New Information 2.6.09)

The California mother who recently gave birth to octuplets (8 babies!) is now stirring up a whole lot of questions. Questions over ethics, in vitro fertilization and how any children is too many. For one, I can't even imagine having 8 newborns...oh and then bringing them home to meet their 6 siblings!  But...just in case you find yourself in this situation...here's a survival guide for Octuplets

When I first heard the 33 year old mother already had six children I couldn't understand why she would bring eight more into the world, especially at one time. While I respect her decision not to abort any of the fetuses, my concern stems from how she even got pregnant with this many babies in the first place.

According to the Associate Press Nadya Suleman's mother (who she lives with and is helping raise the other six children, ages 2-7) revealed her daughter was obsessed with having babies since she was a teenager. Her mother was quoted in an AP article as saying "but luckily she couldn't." Apparently that was true until she met a doctor who was willing to implant at least 8 embryos. What kind of responsible doctor would allow this??? This is a woman who doesn't have a husband, is living at home with her own mother, and gave birth to six other children in the previous seven years. 

Not only is this not responsible medical practice, this is not responsible parenting. These 14 children will end up relying on public services and taxpayers' money to be taken care of..and by no fault of their own. Apparently, the woman's own mother tried convincing her to stop having babies. But was she enabling her by putting a roof over her head and raising her children? Even the mother now says she's thankful it's over since her daughter is out of eggs and she can't get pregnant the tradition way. 

I have little room to talk, and I admit that. I conceived my daughter with relatively little effort. However, as the mother of an infant, I feel I am justified to add my two sense.  I fully understand that fertility treatments are extremely expensive and there's always the risk that implanting too few eggs will not result in a pregnancy. But there's also the risk that implanting too many eggs will result in too many fetuses, hence the octuplets. I know what it takes to raise a newborn... I'm doing it full time. There are days when I feel I'm not giving my daughter enough attention. How in the world is this woman going to raise 8 infants and take care of 6 other needy children, work a job, sleep and eat healthfully. Oh wait, SHE WON'T! She likely won't work, but without a husband, what will her income be? Handouts? Public assistance? She won't sleep and will, therefore, most likely be extremely stressed out and have little patience in meeting her childrens' needs.  I'm sure as a mother she will put her children before herself and therefore she's at risk for letting her own well-being and health slip.

The bottom line is her fertility doctor and medical advisor should not be allowed to continue practicing and she should not be allowed to continue have babies. 

But then again, who am I to say?


So I guess the saying is true...once a new producer always a news producer. Alright so I made it up, but you get the point. I can't get the newshound in me to completely go into hibernation. My husband knows this which is why he recorded NBC's Today Show for me this morning when the mother of the octuplets was interviewed by Ann Curry. She defended her decision and told Curry that once she's done her school she'll be able to afford them...meaning her 14 children (all under 7 years old.) I just wonder what happens until then. Hmm??? You can watch part of the interview if you're interested.

Now the most revealing part of the interview to me was that this woman actually had the same fertility doctor for all of her children. You see what I'm getting at here? The doctor already knew she had 6 other children. He rightfully deserves the California State Investigation that he now finds himself at the center of. What was he thinking? (In all fairness he did only implant six eggs. Two of them split resulting in two sets of twins.)


Creative Ways to Earn CA$H as a $AHM

In the last two months my husband has reminded me more times than I can count that I left work to take care of our daughter...not to worry about making income. But I just can't help it. I still need to feel like I'm financially contributing. And I'm happy to report..that I am. And, you can too...from the comfort of your own rocking chair.

My first venture, as I've mentioned in previous posts, was Ehow.com. I started November 22 and through the end of the year I made a whopping $8.20. Make that $7.20 because since I hadn't hit the $10 mark I was docked a $1 processing fee. At that point I had written about 40 articles. In January my earnings skyrocketed (relatively, of course) earning me $28! I hadn't yet doubled my article count, but I tripled my earnings. It's now five days into February and my earnings are sitting pretty at $7.50. That includes yesterday where I had a whopping $5 day.  I credit my success to the ehow secrets found in top ehow earner, Writergig's e-book "How to Earn Passive Income on Ehow.com"... not to mention my little helper..you can see her hard at work!  Now, for those of you who are used to making double digit hourly rates I know this sounds like pennies. But don't you see the potential? In January I paid for a tank of gas for my family. I'm hoping in February I'll be able to pay for a week's worth of groceries. Thanks to my new coupon-and-weekly-specials-focused-menu-planning method I can buy a week's worth of groceries for between $60 or $70. (Just as a side note, coupons couldn't be easier to clip...no more Sunday newspaper either, it's all about grocery coupons online. Select and print the ones you want or put them right onto your store's discount club card.) Starting in March I'm going to do an experiment to find out how much money I actually save using coupons, online coupons and club card discounts. I'll keep you posted and I'm sure you'll be motivated to do the same! 

Anyhow..back to ehow...I started this Ehow venture with my aunt and friend, Joanne. She's been staying at home with her three children for the last 10 years. And while she's a stay at home mom as her youngest starts full time kindergarten she's now becoming even more of a work at home mom. (Her website work.at.home.mom is definitely worth a look especially the post on how she saved $600 last month alone)! I say "even more" because she's dedicated to not only her children but helping her family's bottom line. It's something I'm striving to do as I still figure out this whole one income thing. She's has found all sorts of ways to bring in income while enjoying raising her children...including selling on this website called Ebay...maybe you've heard of it? A little bird told me about her success...and so off I went to Ebay to see what I could sell.

That brings me to my second source of SAHM income - Ebay. I started just selling things I had around the house. Most of my listings were my husband's old clothes which are now too big for him since he lost weight. The selling on men's clothing wasn't so great and I'd say I was batting about 50-50. BUT then my mom, much to my dismay, brought me a trunk full of junk from the closet in my bedroom at her house. She'd been bugging me to clean out the closet for years. Yes, years! I'd always "forget." This time, she did it for me and just plopped the crap in my front hallway. That was motivation enough for me to log onto Ebay again. I listed three items...the flute (listed at $20) I played in grade school and high school, a pair of shoes ($5) I wore one time, and an old music box ($5) that still played music but was missing a few keys. They all sold..and netted me over $50! Two of them sold for double what I listed that at... proving one man's trash is another man's treasure. This was money sitting in the closet that I didn't know I had.

I think I'm going to look through the rest of that junk and see what else I can get rid of!


Starting Solids - Ask an Expert

Okay fellow new mamas fear not! There is help out there to answer all your questions about how and when to start introducing solids. I came across a great little booklet that was headed to my junk mail pile when I decided...oh I'll give it a quick look!  Let me tell you: I saved a gem!

Boy, am I glad I did! Gerber sent me the pamphlet explaining exactly how to introduce solids. Basically start with rice cereal as I explain in the original Introducing Solids post. Once your baby becomes an expert, add one fruit or vegetable at a time. (You can buy jarred baby food or make large batches of homemade fruits and vegetables and then freeze them in smaller portions) Now, here's the question which is better first: fruit or veggies? Here's the argument for both...if you start fruit first your baby may take to eating it easier because it has a sweeter taste like breastmilk. But if you start with veggies first you may have an easier time getting your little one to eat their veggies. If you start veggies after fruit it may be more difficult, because by then they'll be used to eating sweeter foods. Either way start one at a time for a few days. This will ensure your baby doesn't have an allergy or negative reaction to the food.

The booklet then suggests mixing two fruits or two veggies together to give your baby more variety.

Now here's the part I found most helpful...it has to do with how to continue to incorporate breastfeeding while feeding solids. Here's Gerber's suggested schedule:

Breakfast: Breastfeed or 4-5 oz bottle + 2 tablespoons of rice cereal

AM Snack: Breastmilk or bottle (if needed)

Lunch: Breastfeed or 4-5 oz bottle + 2 tablespoons of fruit, such as apples

Afternoon Snack: Breastmilk or bottle (if needed)

Dinner: Breastfeed or 4-5 oz bottle + 2 tablespoons of vegetable + 2 tablespoons of rice cereal

PM Snack (before bed) Breastmilk or bottle

***It's important to note that breastfeeding or formula are still the main sources of calories and nutrients.

And the best part about the entire booklet were these 11 little numbers..1.800.508.1717...on the other end (day or night) a baby feeding expert at your beckon call!

You can also find tons of useful at Gerber.com

If you still haven't stocked up on baby mealtime supplies here are a few of my favorites. All of them can be ordered directly through the link. (I only recommend baby items that I use myself.)


Gymboree: Get a Free Preview Class

I took my daughter to Gymboree Play and Music for the first time today and I think she's in love with Gybmo!

Gymbo is Gymboree's mascot. He's this little clown guy who acts as the class instructor's "baby." Gymboree has seven levels of classes depending on the age and development of the child. Since my daughter is 5.5 months we were in the birth to six month old class. But we were lucky, it was only me, my daughter and my neighbor and her little boy who is the same age! We sang little songs, had tummy time, encouraged reaching and had lots of giggles.

The reason I'm telling you all this is because as a SAHM I'm always looking for fun and different things to do with my daughter. Now, while you have to pay for classes at Gymboree you can get a FREE preview class. Just call the Gymboree nearest you and ask them if you can enroll in the one time preview class. It's 45 minutes and you'll not only get a sense of what the place is all about, but if you're child is even interested. You wouldn't want to sign up and pay $70 a month only to have your baby cry the whole time.

My daughter seemed to genuinely love it. (I loved it too! She was wiped afterwards and I had to wake her from a 3 hour nap! Can you say stimulation overload?) Unfortunately, I'm not going to be able to sign her up for full time classes just yet. We're still getting adjusted to living on one income and are cutting out any unnecessary expenses. My goal, however, is to make enough money writing my ehow.com articles that I can sign her up for weekly Gymboree classes.

What I might do, though is buy the Gymboree book Baby Play (Gymboree). In the meantime, I encourage all of you to give Gymboree a try...and let me know how your babies like it! If nothing else, you can bring what you learned home and have some fun in your living room!


Making Homemade Baby Food

...Isn't for everyone...otherwise Gerber wouldn't have such a successful business. If I was still working, I could clearly not be whipping up my own baby food. I'd be opting for the convenience factor and going for jarred baby food. I'm sure I'll buy a jar or two at some point, because let's face it, it's so much easier! But, I am fortunate enough to have a little extra time, so I plan on making some of my own. It's actually pretty simple to make your own homemade baby food. Who knows it may mean a child who's not such a picky eater down the road.

Many pediatricians will recommend starting with rice cereal. (Here's more on my rather humorous first attempt at introducing solids to my daughter.) This, you must buy.

However, once your baby has graduated to fruits and vegetables you can make them in your own kitchen. The easiest way to do this is to clean and cut the vegetables, steam them and then puree in a food processor. You'll first want to start with things like carrots, squash, and beans. You don't need to add any salt or anything to flavor the veggies. You want your baby to learn the true taste of food so they don't become a picky eater later on. This can become a problem if your baby eats jarred baby foods that have additives like sugar and salt. It's also a good idea to start with one veggie at a time for a few days so you can make sure your baby doesn't have any allergies to it.  

I've also included links where you can find step-by-step directions for making homemade baby food recipes for various fruits and vegetables
If your baby gets bored or you're looking for other ideas, there are countless ways to make homemade baby food as is proven in Blender Baby Food: Over 125 Recipes for Healthy Homemade Meals.

**New Mama Tip: Save precious mommy time and reduce food waste by making large batches of  homemade baby food and freezing them in ice cube trays or try the Fresh Baby So Easy Baby Food Kit. Frozen baby food will keep for up to two months in the freezer.
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