Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Failure to Progress: Dystocia

From my experience, dystocia, or failure to progress during labor is becoming more and more common.
A recent Danish study was released that attempts to answer why dystocia occurs. You can read the study here. If you're not into reading all the medical jargon, here's my summary:

From this study, women who on admission to the delivery ward that have not dilated past 4 cm, and have a baby that has not descended far enough to thin and spread the cervix were more likely to be diagnosed with dystocia. There also was some evidence that a large baby played some part in dystocia, but it was minor. (Personal side note: Since our bodies are all different, large for one women, could be small to the next. So, not only is it difficult for this study to determine whether or not a large baby could cause dystocia, but it's also very difficult to estimate a baby's birth weight. Therefore, assuming that a women is not capable of a "normal" vaginal birth b/c of baby's weight is nearly impossible.) Finally, the use of epidurals was observed to be associated with the diagnosis of dystocia.

Lack of descent had a strong association with dystocia along with poor head-to-cervix contact, and often led to c-section.
"Descent of fetal head is correlated to dilatation of the cervix, and cervix dilatation <>Epidural analgesia had the strongest association with dystocia among the risk indicators assessed. In total 71.2% of women who were treated with epidural analgesia were diagnosed with dystocia. A similarly strong association between dystocia and epidural analgesia was reported from a population-based study of 106,755 deliveries without induction and with durations of delivery <>Alehagen et al. found that women who received epidural analgesia had experienced more fear, but not more pain, before the administration of epidural analgesia than did women who did not receive epidural analgesia [41] and fear may prolong duration of labour [42]. Recent reviews come to the conclusion that epidural analgesia appears to prolong labour's second stage and prompt more use of oxytocin [25-27]. Although we excluded from the analyses those who were treated with epidural analgesia after being diagnosed with dystocia, reverse causation is still a possible explanation of the association we find. If a need for pain relief or fear of pain are among the clinical precursors of dystocia, epidural analgesia could be part of the mechanism leading to dystocia." [Emphasis added.]

The conclusion of this study is that it provides evidence of an increased risk of dystocia for women who, at admission to the hospital, have a cervix dilation < 4 cm, the cervix is tense with a thick lower segement, and that there has been poor contact between the fetal head and cervix. This could even be a significant predictor of dystocia, but more studies should be done. It is also clear from these observations that there is a great association between the use of epidural analgesia and the increased risk of dystocia, and it could have a causal explanation.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

On a budget

Obviously, when I left my job in April we lost a significant part of our income. The last 8 months has been a major transition (that's putting it mildly), but it has also been a marvelous time of learning. Never before have I had the time (or reason) to really learn how to budget and how to spend wisely.
I've come across a couple awesome websites:
www.mint.com
This site has been invaluable to us in creating our budget. Everyone kept telling us to use paper envelopes, or at most would have us fill-in a spreadsheet (something we've done for years, but it still didn't help us get out of debt). Mint.com is automatic, online, and easy-to-use. It doesn't have a capability of deducting our budget from our income, but I can do that easily in Excel. I love that it sends you e-mail alerts or texts if you're getting close or go over your budget. It also alerts you to bills that need to be paid. I.Love.It.
www.ynab.com
This guy has good, simple advice. He breaks it up into 10 emails/1 per day. It's really helped my husband and I talk about things we didn't even know we needed to talk about. Plus, it's really changed my perspective on the budget. It's not something I dread anymore.

Monday, November 24, 2008

With Appreciation

In the spirit of the season, a few things I appreciate:

  1. My husband's band members and other musicians who say to me "Thanks for letting us "borrow" your husband," or "Thank you for allowing Matt to play tonight." Though it's really a joy and pleasure to hear my husband play, and I don't really mind when he's gone to perform or rehearse (okay, at least not all of the times he's performing or rehearsing)--it's really nice that the other "guys" recognize my part in making it happen.
  2. Hand-me-downs. I'm definitely not a shop-a-holic or a clothes maniac by any stretch of the imagination. I do like new stuff from time to time, but I really enjoy hand-me-downs. For myself & especially my growing-too-quickly kiddos. Why buy something new that they'll grow out of in just a few months? We've been blessed by the Sanders family with clothes for our son for the past 2 years or more. They've given him so much that we usually only buy one or two outfits per season. They've got awesome taste too, and O has had some really cute outfits.
  3. Breastfeeding. I love nursing my babies. It ends all too quickly.
  4. My church family that has taken care of us throughout this recent financial struggle--without question, without embarassment, without judgement. We definitely don't deserve what they do for us, but they continue to love on us and provide for our needs.
Really, this post could go on and on. However, with the crying baby I'm listening to I feel like I'm at the Academy Awards, they've just turned on the "get off the stage" music, and I'm trying to remember everyone to thank b/c my dress didn't have a pocket for the speech I prepared. Ugh. Love you mom & dad. *Wink* to the hubby. Couldn't do it without Jesus *lifts statue to heaven*.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I Thought This Was the Day

A year ago I was breathing through contractions, expecting to hold a baby before the day's end. By bedtime though everything had come to a halt, and I was completely frustrated and anxious for this kiddo to come out.

I can't believe that in two days my little baby girl is going to be one year old.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Who Are Your Role Models and Why?

Wendy Metzger, a close friend and goldy woman who strives to honor God in everything she does.

My mom, who loves unconditionally--even when it's difficult.

Amy Madden Copp, who exudes professionalism, and has more business talent than most women can dream of having.

My husband, extremely wise and humble, and works harder than anyone I know.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Stuff Christians Like

I truly love the "Stuff Christians Like" blog, and this is by far one of his best posts:
http://stufffchristianslike.blogspot.com/2008/10/413-trying-to-find-cause.html

His blog has me thinking and laughing at the same time. I read it every day, and usually re-read it later on too. You really should take a look.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Where Do You See Yourself?

Someone asked me yesterday where I see myself in 5 years. For the first time ever my response was "Hopefully, right where I am!" In the past I quickly responded with an answer full of driven ambition and accomplishments. Now, I'm happy right where I am doing exactly what I'm doing. (Of course, it would be great to not have financial concerns, but God is working on that for us & I'm just waiting on Him.)
I want to take a look back on where I THOUGHT I would be versus where I am. This is a long one, so prepare yourself (I suggest a warm cranberry-oat scone, and a cup of hot blueberry white tea.)

One Year Ago
Where I was: Pregnant, anxiously awaiting the birth of my second child. I was stressed at work, and unhappy with recent changes and the obvious upcoming inflexibility with my work schedule.

Had it gone my way: I would just be finishing up a year of working 1/2 at home, and 1/2 in the office. I would be the super-mom of the year balancing life at home and life at work. I would've hired a mother's helper to assist me at home with the kids and chores. I would be contemplating returning to the office full-time, and yet still maintaining a perfect life at home.

Reality Check: Considering the amount of depression that consumed the majority of this year, I doubt I would've survived working full-time no matter the location or situation. Plus, changes continued to happen at my old job, and I’m not sure I would’ve stayed happy with my work. Our finances would be just as bad, if not worse b/c I wouldn't have the time to get my husband's business running smoothly or manage our household budget wisely, and would be paying someone else to help me run the house.

Five Years Ago
Where I was: October 2003—We had just moved to Colorado 6 months prior, and we were living in a dinky duplex in the college area of Fort Collins. We were serving as campus ministers, and enjoying hanging out with the college kids. I was temping for a financial advisor, and had started taking classes at a culinary school. Neither of which were working out well. We had been trying to have a baby for over a year now, and I was really stressed about getting pregnant.

Had it gone my way: I would’ve completed culinary school, and now own my own catering business that focused on the needs of working moms. All the while I would’ve had a baby or two along the way, we would’ve bought a nice house, and not be in debt.

Reality Check: While culinary school was a great learning experience, it wasn’t right. God obviously had other plans, and within a few short months I was working for Group at a job I truly loved. We were blessed with a couple of kids—on God’s time, which is always the right time.

10 Years Ago
Where I was: October 1998—a newly wed for 4 months, and finishing up the first semester of my junior year.

Had it gone my way: We would have moved to Washington State, where I would go on to law school (yep, law school), and Matt would be a successful musician. We would have a couple kids, and I would be a super-mom (hmmmm…do you see a theme here) balancing life as a lawyer and mom.

Reality Check: Ten years ago I had lofty dreams, but no idea where God wanted me or how to get there. I never would’ve even fathomed back then that I would be where I am—AND HAPPY ABOUT IT. So, I can only imagine what life will be like in 10 more years. Praise God it goes HIS WAY instead of my way.

Entry #6: Cough, cough

When your child coughs, how do you respond? Do you feel a tightening in your chest, because you are now holding your breath? Do you stop everything, and listen so intently that you hear your own heart beat (now beating rapidly) in your ears? Do you look deeply into your child's face for any signs of bigger problems?

Depending on the cough, I'll have any of those responses, all of them, or those and more. O is so used to me reacting this way that now he'll smirk and fake a dramatic cough, and then giggle at me. I'm sorry, I'm a worrier. I was that way before he was born. Even before we knew he had CF, when he was just a tiny baby, my heart would ache anytime he coughed.

The fact is kids cough. CF kids typically cough more, and it's okay. Productive coughing (not O's teasing-coughs) help loosen the mucus in his lungs, and can prevent illness.

It still freaks me out. We started doing vest therapy in 2008, and I've noticed a big difference in his cough. It's more productive, and now he coughs less throughout the day. When a cold comes on we do more time in the vest, and he seems to overcome his illnesses quicker. It could just be me, but I think this is an awesome tool. O's not too fond of it, but he does enjoy making funny noises while the vest vibrates his chest.

Here's a quick video of him in his vest.

video

So, how are you doing?

Have you kept up with your 90 day commitment?
I would say I'm doing pretty good. It's been two weeks, and I've only missed 3 days or so. I have noticed though I'm doing more each time. Maybe my strength is building, maybe I'm just well-rested lately, I don't know. Either way, let's keep going. Only 76 more days--YOU CAN DO IT!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

I Dare Ya

90 days. Can you do it?
My sister-in-law, Billie, my husband, and I have all committed to work out for 90 days. I use the term "work out" loosely here to mean some sort of exercise outside of the normally physical activity I do in a day. So, whether I do 5 push ups, or an hour long session at the gym--I must do something, every day, for 90 days.
We started yesterday. I did some pilates and some push ups before bed. Go me.

The idea here is to commit to exercise. I have no other goal beyond that. No diet constraints (I already watch what I eat, try to make healthy choices, but also enjoy foods that make me happy--a la cookie dough I'm currently nibbling at), no rigorous work out schedule, nothing like that. Just a commitment to do more than the usual for 90 days.


How did this come about--that's a fun story:

I love infomercials. Seriously. I understand if you don't want to be my friend anymore, but it's a fact. I find them amusing, some even tempting.
Now, I don't go looking for infomercials, but if one happens to be on & nothing else is entertaining me--I will watch.
Yes, I've even purchased things I've seen in an infomercial, and I have a wish list.

So, lately the infomercial of choice is the "P90X" system. A series of work out DVD's designed to get you "ripped" in 90 days. Now, I have no desire to have the body of body-builder, but the idea of getting strong and healthy in 90 days sounds pretty cool.
The other night my husband watched part of the infomercial with me, after I said that I'd like to try it. We decided that before we spend the $140+ on these miracle DVDs, we should try just exercising the way we know how for 90 days. Also, after struggling with postpartum depression all winter last year, I feel it is imperative that I'm physically active all winter long.

So, here goes. From last night until January 12th we're going to do this. Want to join in the madness? Leave a comment telling me what you're going to do for 90 days. I'll check in with you, if you check in with me. Okay? C'mon, I dare ya!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Sick Days

I miss sick days. I'm not just talking about those paid-off days from work, but I miss getting to be sick with nothing else to do except lay in bed or on the couch with a box of tissues, a glass of 7Up, and a cozy blanket. Oh yeah, and my mommy coming around every so often to feel my head, and ask if I need anything.
Those days are gone. I am the mommy now, and I don't get sick days.

I was sick the week before last. I had a horrible sinus infection, and I didn't want to move. This did not compute with my kids. My husband made every attempt to allow me some rest, but alas it was for naught.
Of course, the very next week the whole lot of them got sick too. The baby, the toddler, and the husband. I made them continue working and playing just as hard as ever though--yeah, right. No, no, no, I comforted, I rocked, I cuddled, I made special meals for upset tummies, and applied cool rags to warm heads. I allowed pajamas to be worn all day, and movies watched for hours on end. I took care of my babes.

That's what I do. I'm the mommy.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Entry #5: Germ-a-phob

Please don't touch my kid.

Even before I had O, I was kind of a germ-a-phob. I keep a bottle of hand sanitizer in my purse, and yes, after shaking your hand I most likely used that marvelous gel to put my mind at ease. See, I used to get upper respiratory infections regularly--almost every month. It felt like as soon as I recovered from one, the next would start up. It's not that I'm afraid of getting dirty--I love to camp, play in the garden, and other such fun. People though, well, you never know.

CF kids have mucus--lots of mucus. Thick, sticky, nasty mucus. Viruses and bacteria love mucus. We all have mucus in our lungs, but CF kids can have a hard time keeping it from sticking in their lungs and harboring germs.
Your lungs don't do a marvelous job at recovering from respiratory disease. It's important that CF kids maintain healthly lung function as long as possible. I had pneumonia pretty bad when I was 20, and since then any cough, chest cold, or other such ailment really is painful. My doc said my lungs are pretty scarred from the pneumonia.
Having that experience makes me pretty aware and cautious when it comes to O's lungs. If we're out walking and have to pass a smoker, I cover O's face. During cold and flu season (typically from October to March) we avoid other kids (especially those we don't know, or those that go to daycare). O uses a vest that vibrates his chest and helps loosen mucus from his airways. We know of other CF kids who use inhalers and ventilators, or other medications to keep their lungs functioning at their best. Thankfully, we haven't reached that point, and Lord willing, we won't.

This is the scariest and hardest part of CF for me. Even before we knew O had CF, I would jump if he started coughing. Now, coughing is vital to his health, and at the same time can be an indicator of something bad.

When O was not quite 2 years old I took him to the park. He had blast running around, swinging, going down the slide, and just playing. Then he started coughing. Hard. I swooped him up into my lap, and he continued coughing really hard. He rested his whole body into my chest, coughing so hard I thought his lungs were falling apart. The other moms at the park looked worried. I'm pretty sure I did too, but something took over my body. I let him sip water in between coughs to keep his throat moist, and I spoke soothingly over him, all the while praying earnestly for my God to clear O's lungs. I also was pleading with my eyes to the nearby building where my husband was working, in hopes that he would come running to aid me and keep my fears at bay. I wanted to cry. It felt like he was coughing for several minutes, but it was probably only seconds. Other moms were offering cough drops or other stop-the-cough solutions, and I tried to smile and gently explain thanks, but no thanks. Some looked at me as if I was a horrible mother, but I know they just didn't understand. He finally stopped, took a big drink of water, and scrambled out of my lap to continue playing as if nothing had happened. I, on the other hand, was shaken. I pretended that it was "all in the day of the life of a mom with a kid that has CF," but inside I was FREAKED. When my husband came home, I broke down crying and shaking. "I don't know if I can do this."

Coughing spasms rarely happen in our house, but when they do it's usually because a lack of activity or respiratory therapy. So, we are vigilant with O's vest therapy, and also incorporate good nutrition (failing to thrive, or not maintaining calories and a good diet can lead to poor lung health and development).

However, there is still the issue of other people. Other people's germs. Another CF mom was a great support to me. I was starting to feel isolated, avoiding events with friends and get-togethers with family, all in the name of protecting O. I also worried what friends and family thought of me. My friend was awesome--"Which matters more: what your friends and family think of you, or your child's life?" That's a no-brainer. My kid totally trumps whatever activity, event, or otherwise you've got going on. Sorry if that makes you feel bad, but I think you'd do the same in my situation.

Finding balance is a trick too. We don't want to be home all the time--that's not fun for anyone (especially O, who LOVES time with friends and family). My husband and I evaluate every event, weighing all the risks (CF related or otherwise) versus benefits, and then prayerfully make a decision. We've made mistakes, and O got sick. Usually when we look back at those decisions we see that it was more of our lack of confidence in saying no to a friend or family member that led us to making a poor decision. We recently renewed our dedication to making decisions based on our family's priorities and needs, not other's opinions.

I hope you're not offended when we turn down your request to attend an event. It may not be because we think you have germs. It could just be it's not the best thing for our family. If I use my hand sanitizer after shaking your hand, well, that's just because I'm a germ-a-phob.

Entry #4: Vitamin D

At my daughter's first well-baby check-up our doctor told us that she would need a vitamin D supplement. She said that my breastmilk is vitamin D deficient.

I will be the first to admit that I don't know enough about nutrition to say much about this topic, however here are my thoughts.
God made me. God made my baby. God made my breastmilk for my baby. In conclusion: The breastmilk that I produce for my baby is sufficient for her needs.



Okay, seriously, I do know a bit more than that. First, it's important for every lactating momma to know that the breastmilk you produce is not only unique to you--it's unique to your baby. That means the composition of the milk you make for you first baby, is not necessarily the same as the composition of the milk you produce for your second, third, and so on. Each baby receives what they need.
Secondly, it is imperative that you have a healthy diet and lifestyle so that you are producing the best milk possible for your baby. Make sure you're still taking pre-natal vitamins, getting good amounts of sunshine, and if necessary, a vitamin D supplement. A good diet, rich in vitamin D is good as well. Here are some great sources:
Salmon (I've got a great recipe, if you're fish-finicky)
Tuna
Milk (goat's milk too)
Cereal
Eggs (There are more than 100 ways to cook an egg, surely you like one of them.)
Pudding

Even though research claims that breastmilk is deficient in vitamin D that does not mean that your breastmilk does not have vitamin D. Possibly just low levels. The best way to get vitamin D is via the sun. I find it ironic that we've been told to avoid sun exposure because it causes cancer, and now the research is telling us that vitamin D deficiency is linked to certain types of cancer. All things in balance, right? Be sure your baby gets 10 minutes of sunshine a day (at least)--no sunscreen, no hat, heck--no clothes. I let my little ones out in the summer bare skin just before the heat of the day (between 10 a.m-1 p.m. for our area). I watch them CAREFULLY, and keep them cool playing in water and dirt.

My son, who has CF, requires much higher levels of all the fatty vitamins (A, D, E, and K). He takes vitamins specially formulated for CF kids. He also spends LOTS of time outside without a shirt and very little sunscreen. We've been doing that since he was a tiny baby, and he hasn't suffered any sunburn. He also eats LOTS of fish--specifically salmon. Our family LOVES salmon, especially O. We got him hooked at a young age on smoked salmon, and now he gobbles up any fish I put in front of him. Also, I highly recommend the fish market at Whole Foods. It's fresh, and they are VERY knowledgeable about their product. They'll answer all your questions and then some. O also likes taking fish oil--eeck! I take mine in pill form, but he ENJOYS the liquid! Yuck, yuck, and double yuck!
At O's yearly CF exam (he goes quarterly, but once a year is the "big one" where they do all the blood work) his vitamin levels are checked. We've always done his exam in April, and his vitamin D levels have been low. I completely attribute that to the fact that we had spent the majority of the winter and early spring indoors. This year we bumped his appointment to May, and with just one month's difference his levels were normal. Now that he's older I think it will be easier to get him outside during the snowy months, but if necessary, he'll get an extra supplement.

I'm definitely NOT against giving kids vitamins, but I also try to let what God has created work on it's own. At the same time I use what He has given me to it's best (eating well, taking care of myself, eating the abundance of things he created to keep us well, enjoying the glorious sunshine, etc.) That can also mean in some cases that a supplement is necessary for good health.

Info on vitamin D and breastmilk:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vitamin_D
http://www.vitamindcouncil.org
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Breast_milk

Monday, September 22, 2008

Not Me, Monday!



I love MckMama's Not Me! idea of therapy, so here goes:

I most certainly did not start the day at 4:30 this morning by getting my wailing 10 month old out of her crib, and into bed with me. Of course, my 3 year old certainly didn't wake up just seconds after I finally got the baby back to sleep. Oh, no, no. My babies sleep like perfect angels.
I did not allow my son to use a marker to give his legs zebra stripes. No, not me. I did not allow my daughter to shred the newspaper into bits underneath the kitchen table. Nuh-uh, no way, I always closely supervise my kids.
I absolutely did not spend way too much time on facebook connecting with old friends, or updating my blogs. No, not when the house is a mess.
I never ever thought today "Who are these kids, and why do they keep calling me Mom?" No, not me.

I surely did not cringe when my husband said he had rehearsals tonight, meaning he would be gone for a total of 18 hours today. No, not this strong supportive wife. No, not me.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Nurtured Mother is Growing

INTRODUCING: Billie Cramer, CMT and certified doula and Kristin Holt, RN and certified doula

After much begging, pleading, nagging, arm-twisting, and bribing--I somehow convinced these two amazing ladies to join forces with me to enhance Nurtured Mother's services for women in Northern Colorado. Hooray!!!


I was blessed to experience their expertise first-hand, as they were both serving as my doulas at the birth of my daughter. Kristin brings the wisdom of both mainstream medicine and alternative medicine, and is the mother of 3 beautiful children. Billie's compassionate strength is only matched by her gentle touch, and she is the mother of an adorable baby boy. (Okay, for those of you who have already put two-and-two together: Billie is also my sister-in-law, and that adorable boy is my nephew! I'm allowed to gush over that cutie anytime I want!)

They'll be writing-in from time to time here on the blog, so check back often to hear from these awesome ladies.

I'll be updating the website (www.nurtured-mother.com) with more information on Billie and Kristin, and the services they offer soon too.

We Make That Wish Everyday

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Recipe Reviews

Trail Mix Granola Bars

O requires more calories than the average 3-year old boy (some days it feels like he consumes more than the average full grown hippo). So, I'm always on the look out for great recipes that are high-calorie, but also nutritious for his overall well being (and the rest of the family's).

I found a great site: www.cfnutrition4life.com with some interesting recipes. Since Matt was headed for the great outdoors last weekend, I decided that it was time to try my hand at granola bars.

Link to the recipe:http://www.cfnutrition4life.com/cfnu/readarticle.php?article_id=121

My end product (one day I'll remember to take pictures during the process):



Notes: I added a 1/2 c more oats and some dried cranberries to my first batch. I didn't have chocolate chips, so I chopped up some dark chocolate bars. I reduced the amount of honey in the second batch to 1/2 cup.

Foodie Finds: Yummy! O loves these bars. Full of great vitamins, minerals, good fats, and CHOCOLATE--what could be better? Matt said it made a great tasting back-packing snack. However, it is almost too sweet for my taste, and very sticky. Matt wanted something he could just eat with his hands on the trail, and this wouldn't even stay in "bar" form.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Bertolli Frozen Pasta: A review

When we started cutting expenses, we knew eating out would have to go. Eating out for us usually happens at two different times: 1.) Planned family or date nights or 2.) When daily chaos prevents us from getting dinner started early enough so that we're not eating at 9 p.m.
The latter was the big problem. When I was working full time we ate out a lot more often because we were too tired, or didn't have time.

The solution: *Sigh* Frozen prepared meals.
We were picky. It had to taste good, and not be full of nasty preservatives or other ingredients that we normally wouldn't eat.

The product: Bertolli frozen "Classic Dinners" and "Pasta & Sauce." I had a coupon, they were on sale, so they got first try. The ingredients were also pronounceable & recognizable, and they were things we would normally eat.

The verdict: Good--and great for a night when we just don't have time. So far, the only one we haven't enjoyed is the ravioli--the sauce was really not impressive. Tonight I enjoyed the manicotti with ricotta and spinach. Our favorite is the Mediterranean chicken and linguine. O hasn't been very impressed with any of them (especially the ravioli), but he will pick out and eat the chicken and noodles.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tummy Troubles

What is wrong with this world? Too often I find myself sitting around with other moms as they tell me that their child suffers from this or that, or that their doctor has prescribed yet another drug to treat their kid.
We have an over-medicated, over-diagnosed society. I totally believe that their are genuine cases out there, but I'm starting to really doubt some medical professionals.

The ailment that I'm hearing all-too-often with young moms with new babies is acid reflux. Their baby spits up quite a bit, and after invasive testing the doctor determines it to be acid reflux. The treatments range from sitting the baby up while sleeping, to medications, and sometimes even switching from breastmilk to formula.

AAAAACKKKKKK! Hold the phone! What's the deal here? I don't doubt that the baby is suffering or having some sort of trouble, but I do question our thinking. No two kids are alike, and too often we tend to think in terms of "normal." Guess what, folks, there is no "normal." You are this baby's mom, and you should always trust your gut. However, sometimes we as moms tend to panic when our kid seems different than someone else's kids (or different from what doctors tell us is "normal"). Some kids rarely spit up, others spit up all the time. My kiddos fluctated between both exremes. Before I go too deep with this, can I suggest a few alternatives? If you feel your baby is spitting up "abnormally" try these ideas BEFORE calling your physician:
  • Do a self check. If you're breastfeeding (and I hope you are) remember that your diet effects your baby. Duh. Are you drinking enough water? Are you drinking caffeine? Are you eating well? Could something you've eaten be upsetting the baby's tummy? A handful of suspect foods: chocolate, broccoli, cabbage, milk or any dairy product. Before you start thinking this is a baby problem, make sure it's not a YOU problem.
  • Talk to a chiropractor. You make think this is voodoo, or crack-pot medicine, but it works. Making sure that your baby is properly aligned can make a big difference in their digestive system. Please trust me on this. I've become all too familiar with the digestive system of wee ones, and I've seen this work.
  • Propping up baby to sleep can help, but also try laying them on their left side.
  • Burp, burp, burp. Or, as my 3-year-old calls it "bert." A baby needs to burp. Don't give up, you must get that child to burp. Try placing your hand on their stomach while using your other hand to firmly pat their back. That worked well for my husband (who has big hands). For me, placing the baby over my shoulder (making sure the tummy was pressing into my shoulder), and firmly patting worked great. Sometimes we both would work on a kiddo for 15 minutes before they'd give in and burp. Stubborn little twerps. (Whoops, did I just say that?)

Okay, so you've tried these things, and it still seems like more is coming out than going in AND now you're worried the baby is not gaining weight. Yet again, I'd like to suggest you talk to a lactation consultant first, but always trust your gut. If you feel seriously concerned, call your physician. *NOTE: Projectile vomiting is not the same as spitting up. If your kiddo is launching the entire contents of their stomach across the room several times a day CALL YOUR DOCTOR NOW.

So, in short, what you think is normal, may not be normal for your baby or normal as society belives. God made your baby the normal He intended, and don't be so quick to judge what God made perfectly normal. As I'm always telling my husband, I'm normal--everyone else is weird.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Carrots

I've never liked carrots. No matter how they've been prepared or smothered with butter or honey--I just really don't like them. The only exception in my 28 years of life has been when my husband makes his Sunday roast, and roasts carrots along with the beef and other vegetables.

The WIC program gives us carrots--lots of carrots. Ugh. They gave me recipes, and lots of information on carrots. So, I've been reading. Did you know:
  • One single dark orange carrot can supply enough beta-carotene to meet our total daily allowance requirement of vitamin A. (Vitamin A is necessary for good eye health, strong bones and teeth.)
  • Adults who lack adequate vitamin A can suffer from poor eyesight, split fingernails that peel and become ridged, skin that develops blemishes, wrinkles and becomes dry, and their hair becomes dry, brittle and dull. Children lacking sufficient vitamin A are more susceptible to infections. Insufficient vitamin A is known to be the primary cause of blindness in American children.
  • Carrots also have vitamins C and E, and are good sources of fiber and potassium.
  • More and more research links carrots to lowering your risk of cancer.

Okay, I get it. Carrots are good for me, but I still don't like them. Well, that is, until today. I pureed carrots for E (because they're good for her), and I gave them a quick taste to make sure they were not too warm.

Who knew? Warm, pureed carrots are good. Not amazing, but good. A little butter, a little salt, and yeah I can eat these. In fact, mix these carrots with some pureed parsnips or potatoes--and YUM!

Mom, I know you're reading this, and going "Yeah, right. I'm still not going to eat carrots." Mom, you've got to try this, especially try adding them to mashed potatoes. Add some seasonings, if you like.

Just a word of caution: eat 'em warm. Once they get cold--yuck. Cold carrot mush--not a pretty picture.

(Data provided by the California Fresh Carrot Advisory Board.)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Entry #3 CF and Nutrition: Milk

Nutrition plays an enormous role in cystic fibrosis. A major reason O continues to be healthy is due in part to his diet. I've taken it upon myself to learn as much as possible about CF where nutrition is involved, mainly because from day 1 as his mother I am the source of his nutrition.

I am a major advocate for breastfeeding. Prior to O's birth I did a lot of research on breastfeeding. Having breastfed each of my baby dolls, I had always desired to breastfeed my real babies too. I learned so much while I was pregnant on the importance of breastfeeding for both baby and mother. So, at our first official visit with the CF doctors I was devastated when the doctors and nutritionists "warned" me that I may have to give up breastfeeding because it may not be adequate. According to their specialists breastmilk does not have enough calories for a child with CF.

Being the stubborn, hard-headed woman that I am, I basically said "I will breastfeed this child, even if that means I feed him every hour. You can either get behind me on that, or go suck a lemon." I am a FIRM believer that God created your breastmilk especially for your baby. Meaning that no matter the circumstance, your milk is adequate for your baby's needs. If O required heavy calorie milk, than God would provide heavy calorie milk (or the stamina for me to breastfeed every hour).

I breastfed O exclusively until he was 5 months old (when we introduced cereal, which we mixed with breastmilk). I continued nursing O until he was 22 months old. His doctors were, and still are, astonished with how big O is, and were amazed that my breastmilk was adequate. I simply believe if every CF mom had some encouragment, ate healthy, and was as stubborn as me--they too could continue breastfeeding exclusively.
O constantly rates in the 95% on the growth charts--much bigger than many CF kids. Yes, there were a few days when I did nurse him every hour, but for the majority of those early days O followed the "Babywise" schedule. (Please read "On Becoming Babywise" by Ezzo.) Between being breastfed and being on a regular consistent schedule, I believe O established good eating habits that have helped him thrive despite his condition.

As O got older the CF nutritionists insisted that we give O cow's milk. Before I became pregnant with O, I had several unresolved digestive issues. I went to many doctors, and none of them found the problem. Our chiropractor had me do a cleanse diet (eliminating all potential food allergens for a period of time, and then slowly reintroducing them). I also read a lot on nutrition. We changed our eating habits quite a bit--eating more natural and organic foods, very little processed foods, and pretty much eliminated some other foods. (I highly recommend "The Maker's Diet.") Through various readings I learned that it's a good idea to NOT give children under the age of 2 any cow's milk products for various reasons. (I won't bore you with all the info on why--go look it up.) Since I was breastfeeding and pumping additional milk for O's needs we didn't have any reason to give him cow's milk until he was about 2 years old.
Not long after he started eating milk, cheese, yogurt, and even ice cream we noticed O having lots of digestive issues--mainly extremes like severe constipation or the opposite--severe diarrhea. This was really hard on him, because he was in the midst of potty training. After a few accidents that really embarassed my sweet and shy little boy (even though we never scolded him about potty accidents, he seemed very frustrated), I was determined to find the answer to these problems.
We reduced the amount of cow's milk products he ate, and increased his enzymes. Still, he was struggling with regular constipation. I received a call from my husband one day while at work.
"Don't panic," he said. Uh oh. He continued to describe the scene (gosh, I hope you're not eating while reading this blog): A small portion of O's rectum was outside his anus. My husband said it looked like a red flower blooming out his bottom. Of course, I was freaked. Insides are supposed to stay inside--not outside! I told him to call the CF center and the emergency room, and ran out of the office as quickly as I could to get home.
When I got home my husband updated me. The emergency room said to put a moist cloth on the rectum and quickly bring him in, and he hadn't yet heard back from the CF center. However, when my husband had attempted to place the moist cloth on O's rectum, it had gone back inside. As we waited for the CF center to call, I jumped online to search for information. Before I could download much, the phone rang. A very calm and collected doctor told us that it was perfectly normal for a CF kid. NORMAL!?!?! I think I shouted this at the time. Geez, you should have a manual about these supposed "normal" CF things! I believe the doctor chuckled, and suggested that I write a book for other CF parents on these things...hmmmm.
O continued to have, what we learned is called, "rectal prolapse." When he pushed hard, well, out it came. We thought maybe his potty was the culprit (possibly sitting in a straining position). We thought maybe we allowed him to sit too long on the potty. He continued to also have constipation. I went back to my books about cow's milk not being the best for kiddos. I read that goat's milk was a great alternative, as it more closely resembles breastmilk and is easier to digest. We tried it out. His constipation pretty much went away, and the rectal prolapse lessened dramatically. However, any amount of cow's product immediately brought it back.
On his next visit with his CF specialists we saw a new doctor. This doctor made a comment about O's very round belly. Now, since O was born I had asked ALL of his doctors about his round belly, as it just didn't seem normal too me. No one seemed to think it was an issue--maybe just a small hernia one said.
This doctor felt his belly and told us that he had distended bowels, and that his intestines were full of, well, poo. (Argh, I KNEW his tummy wasn't right--yet another reason that as a mother you should ALWAYS trust your gut, no pun intended.) He recommend regular doses of Miralax, which worked wonders. O gets a small daily dose of Miralax, and drinks only goat's milk. We occasionally allow him cow's cheese, yogurt, and ice cream, but only in moderation. O does great with this, and hasn't suffered rectal prolapse or any significant constipation in over a year.

Another note on dairy products (cow's or otherwise): Mucus. Yuck. CF kids have a lot of mucus. Milk increases mucus production. Bacteria and viruses LOVE mucus. What does this tell you? In cold and flu season we drastically reduce the amount of mucus-producing foods O eats. This includes mainly dairy products and wheat. GASP! Just like our nutritionist panicked when she heard this, I'm sure your's will too. Please note I AM NOT A NUTRITIONIST. I'm a mom of my CF kid, who is probably TOTALLY different than your CF kid. (They're all different, you know?) I am suggesting that you read as much as you can, and try it out for yourself. Now, dairy provides a major source of vital nutrients: calcium, vitamin D, calories, folic acid and more. O gets goat's milk daily, even during the winter months, unless he has a cough. I must note that we replace the nutrients he normally gets through milk with other less-mucus-producing foods (green veggies, calcium-enriched juices, fresh fruits, salmon--yep, my kid loves it, and others). We also have supplements on-hand (folic acid, liquid calcium, and others) just in case any of his tests results show a deficiency. He has only been low on vitamin D, but that usually is due in large part to the fact that his test is run in April when he has spent most days inside rather than outside in the sun. O thrives on his diet, and I encourage you to research and learn more on the foods you give your child (whether he or she has CF or not). If you're pregnant or have a newborn--please, breastfeed your baby. It will be the best thing you ever do for your baby.

ADDED LATER:
O did not have any typical CF symptoms, or become pancreatic insufficient until he was 6 months old.
One week after O stopped nursing I became pregnant. After E was born, O saw me pumping and came running with a cup! I happily obliged, and gave him any extra milk I pumped.

Resources:
http://www.llli.org/llleaderweb/LV/LVOctNov02p99.html
http://www.cfnutrition4life.com/site/news.php

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Try Standing In My Boat

This posting comes with a warning: DO NOT assume that this pertains to you.

We've had so many friends and family members encourage us during this "rough spot," and we appreciate it. However, I need to say something. This comes from conversation after conversation with friends who are desperately trying to cheer me up, encourage me, or somehow make it better with words.
It feels like we're in a boat that's taking on water, and we are going to drown. Friends who send off words of encouragement like "you did the right thing," "have patience," "trust God--it will work out," or similar phrases, are like people standing on the shore waving to us & smiling. You might have a different perspective standing on your safe shore, but think for a moment how we're feeling in this boat. Would you want the person on shore just smiling & waving? Or, are you screaming desperately for rescue?
If you don't have the solution, and you're not willing or unable to send a life line, or have never been in this boat--please stop trying to "fix it" with your words. It's not helping. Rather, the best thing to say would be--I'm here if you need someone.
We've reached a point where we're even sick of telling people how we're doing. It seems like life is full of dread and worry, and that's not who we are. I told Matt today that we need to have a "God is good" party. We're not yet sure what that looks like, but I'm sure it involves bacon.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Shop Nurtured Mother

My store is open for business!
http://www.nurtured-mother.com/store.html

It's small for now, just until I can see how it goes, but at least it's something. My business cards and brochures arrived this week too. I can't wait to get these out to people!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Entry #2: Poop

Every boy I have ever known has thought poop is hilarious. Seriously, the word poop (in all it's forms) always seems to make a guy grin. Even the precursor to the poop (a.k.a. flatulence, toot, poot, fart, etc.) seems to be ingrained in the DNA of boys to be excessively funny.
I've always be indifferent, I mean, come on, it's poop.

When you first have a baby, poop is a BIG deal. First off, if your water breaks and meconium is present (baby's first poop), it's usually alerts your medical team to be prepared for complications. Any number of possibilities could be happening: stressed baby, over-term baby, and so on. If the baby takes it's first breath and fills it's lungs with meconium--that's a whole new problem. Then you're supposed to record every bowel movement the baby has for several weeks to ensure they baby is healthy.

I never realized how important poop would become in my life. I had expected poop to be a part of discussions when we had kids, but when CF became part of our lives it became so much more important. A symptom of CF is frequent, oily stools. It indicates that the baby is "pancreatic insufficient," meaning that he is not digesting fats, and therefore could fail to thrive.

When we learned of O's CF one of the first things they asked us was what his poop looked like. Honestly, I hadn't paid that close attention. I had done the early weeks of recording the number of dirty diapers, but I hadn't really done any investigative work, I mean, come on, it's poop. They actually took a "sample" at our first meeting--a dirty diaper. I happily obliged their request. Somehow, it made me feel happy to give the people who had just given me the worst possible news a stinking, dirty, poop-filled diaper.

O's poop was normal, no oil. This meant he did not need to start taking pancreatic enzymes. This, at the time, felt like a victory to me. Taking enzymes meant that we would have to introduce solid foods--applesauce, specifically. A baby can't swallow enzymes, so enzymes have to be spoon-fed with a soft food. Even the thought of giving O something other than breatmilk broke my heart. However, they wanted to show me that first day how to administer (feed) O enzymes, so that if he soon needed them I would know what to do. The nurse gave me instructions, and handed me the spoon. I gave it back, and said, "No." She looked at me puzzled. I said, "I'm sorry, I just can't do this right now." I had tears in my eyes. The nurse was gentle, and very understanding. She gave O a bite, my heart shattered, and a tear rolled down my cheek.

For four more months O didn't have oily poop. Then, one day, I was changing his diaper. My heart dropped to my stomache. I had always wondered what it would look like, and if I'd even be able to tell what it was. I could. I did. O started enzymes that day. As he got bigger his need for more enzymes grew too--I could always tell because he would get oily poop. It saddened me those first few times--like I was failing to help him, but now I see the reasoning and benefits. Enzymes are a great thing. In a not too distant past, we didn't have enzymes, and kids died very young. The amount of enzymes you take is based on your weight--meaning that each time O's dose increased it directly corresponded to the fact that O IS THRIVING. That's a big deal.

We've had our other struggles with poop--my entry
CF and Nutrition: Milk goes into our adventure of rectal prolapse. There are sure to be more adventures, but I'm glad that despite how poop can be a very serious issue for our family it's still funny. O is a boy, and no matter what your issue is--flatulence is hilarious. I just pray his wife has a strong sense of humor too, or a weak sense of smell.

Entry #1: Don't Panic

I'm starting a new series of posts. Since O's diagnosis with CF I've contemplated writing a book. So, I'm going to start here with my blog. Here goes.


No one should start a conversation with the words "Don't panic." As my dad would say, that's like telling someone to look at a white wall and not think of a polar bear. The first thing you'll think of is a polar bear. So, naturally the first thing you do is panic.

Less than a week after my son was born our doctor called to tell us that his newborn screen was abnormal..."but don't panic," she said. I had never heard of cystic fibrosis, so I didn't. I did what I always do--I went to my computer and googled it. After reading everything I could find online, I was confident we had nothing to panic about. O showed absolutely no signs or symptoms of CF.
We scheduled a second newborn screen. It was maybe a day or so later when they contacted us to say the second screen was also abnormal. His doctor was confident that it was a mistake--O was gaining weight quickly and showed absolutely no signs of CF. However, they thought it was wise that we journey to the local Children's Hospital for further testing.

Our visit to the Children's Hospital was long and frustrating. "Why do we have to do this? We know he's fine. Why are we putting our little sweet baby through this?" I kept saying these things over and over. Even after seeing O, the CF Specialist said that there was no way that O had CF--he was just too healthy (and BIG).

The next day I received this call "Tamara, it's Scott." I sat in silence. Who the crap is Scott, I thought. Obviously the silence made it clear I had no idea who Scott was, because O's CF doctor continued to introduce himself.
"Your son has CF," Scott said it bluntly, without warning or hesitation in the slightest. More silence on my end. He proceeded to give me information, to firmly and gently instruct me on the next steps we were to take. I think I only said over and over "I have to go. I have to call my husband." The doctor gave me his direct line, and made me promise to call him right back.

Thus began the whirlwind journey of becoming a mom of a kid with CF. Since then we've had many calls that always begin "Don't panic." Yep, now I always panic.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Fitting It All In

I'm frustrated. I feel like their is a never-ending list of things I need to remember to do.

Feed the kids.
Play with the kids.
Play one-on-one with each of the kids.
Educate the kids.
Spiritually fulfill the kids.
Exercise with the kids.
Provide social interaction with other kids for the kids.
Read to the kids.
Keep the kids healthy.
Train and discipline the kids.
Give the kids affection.
Show your spouse affection in front of the kids.
Don't let the kids watch too much t.v.
Potty train the kids.
Make sure they go to bed on time.
Oh, and don't forget to do something for yourself.

This list just keeps getting bigger and bigger. It's overwhelming. Can any moms tell me how they are able to do all of this? My brain feels like it's spinning. Maybe I'm just overly-tired, but today the task of "mother" seems too great for mere-mortal me. Somehow I get through each day, but I feel like I'm only functioning on auto-pilot & not really accomplishing anything.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Black Raspberry Jam

I never knew the satisfaction it would bring me to make my own jam until yesterday.

Yesterday I made black raspberry jam with berries from our garden. It's all-fruit, free of sugar or any other additives you might find in store-bought jam. It also tastes AMAZING! Like deep-rich raspberries. I didn't realize how overly sugary-sweet even our all-fruit store jam was until today. I made buttermilk biscuits this morning so we could have an official taste test.

I didn't realize though, how accomplished I would feel. Like I've gotten in touch with my inner homemaker-pioneer-roots, or something. I am woman, hear me roar-type thing. As I watched my son, father, mother, and husband devour biscuits and jam I felt thrilled that something I made was satisfying my loved ones. I felt like doing a little dance--the "look at me, I'm so cool, I made jam" dance.
I had always heard horror stories of making jam, of pectin not setting up right, and so on. This was easy. I'm planning on making jam out of the remainder of the berries. At first I thought I'd give them away as Christmas gifts, but I'm not sure they'll make it until Christmas.
I would've had a picture of the biscuits, but they were inhaled along with the first jar of jam.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Pictures

Hooray! The pictures from our family photo session are finally ready!
Kammi & Ross at Elegant Images did an AMAZING job.
Check out their blog http://www.xanga.com/Elegantimages to view a few of our pictures.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Just a Mom

In this new adventure of becoming a stay-at-home mom there are a couple irritating things that people keep saying to me.
  1. The phrase "just a mom," as in "So, you're just a mom now" or "So, you're just staying home now." As if choosing to leave my job to be at home somehow means that I don't do as much as I did before, if not more. No mom is "just" a mom--let's get that straight right now. Prior to being home I had a very intense and at times high-stress, challenging job. In comparison to being home with two children--that was EASY. Why at work we had regular breaks, lunch hours, and spent the majority of each day SITTING. I don't "just" do anything. Caring for two children is physical, emotional, and mental. Turning away for 30 seconds can mean disaster, or at least peanut butter being smeared all over the chair. Even if all I was doing was "just" caring for my kiddos there is nothing "just" about it.

  2. People continue to also tell me how moms being at home is God's plan/design/will. As if by choosing to work outside of the home it's going against God. Where oh where in the Bible can you tell me that God explains that all mothers need to be homemakers? Am I missing something here? I've read through the entire Bible twice in my lifetime so far, and I'm going for #3 right now. Please, tell me, exactly where to find the scripture on how moms are to be care takers of house & children only? Truly, what I've read shows examples of women who NOT ONLY managed their households and raised their children, but they were also business women and involved in their communities. We've been Super-Moms since time began!

Please DO NOT misunderstand me--I think our world would be better if all moms could be at home with the time and energy to focus solely on their children and households. However, for most American women that's not an option. I sincerely do not believe that God is condemning these women. I do believe God created women as the more natural choice for caring for children, and managing the household. I've also seen some amazing men do an awesome job of kissing booboo's, cleaning house, and making excellent dinners. My husband did an immaculate job for the first two years of our son's life, and consequently our son is extremely close to his dad--I wouldn't trade that for anything. God has a plan for each family, and it's up to you to seek out his will. Don't let anyone tell you that what you're doing is the wrong thing--just find your peace with God.

I cook, clean, and care for the children. I also manage my husband's music studio, freelance, and I am building my doula business. In addition, I attend a weekly Bible study, manage the household budget, and manage our family schedule. Be forewarned: if you are one of these incredibly insensitive folks who asks me if I'm "just" at home now, or how great it is that I'm now following God's design for families--you're liable to get a brick to the head.

Okay, I'm off my soap box for now. :)

Friday, July 18, 2008

I Love Lists

We have so much going on in our lives right now. It's difficult for me to choose a topic to write on. I love lists, so here goes:
  • Since quitting my job we've been attempting to live off of about 1/4 of our previous income. Needless to say, it's tight, and we're struggling. Our savings is trickling away, I got myself and kids on WIC to help pay for groceries, and we're blessed with friends & family who are helping as best they can.
  • I've been struggling with postpartum depression. I have more good days than bad, but when it's bad it's really, really, bad. I have an amazing counselor who is truly a God-send. Enough said.
  • My husband just finished a week of rehearsals for All Shook Up. Meaning he was at his first job from 4 a.m. until 1 p.m., taught music lessons from 2-7 p.m., and then was at rehearsals until about midnight. I thought about adding up the amount of time he was actually at home this week, but decided that might be even more depressing. Tonight is opening night. Lord willing, he'll be home soon. (I hate going to sleep without him home.)
  • I love blogging, and reading other people's blogs. I think I'm becoming obsessed. One night I cried for an hour reading Bring the Rain. I couldn't stop until the story was over though. I've also found blogs from old friends, and now I'm able to catch up on their lives & I LOVE IT. I've been inspired by Rose's blog, and I can't wait to write some reviews of my own--after a LONG search for the perfect shampoo, I'm in love with Aveda's Smooth Infusion.
  • I'm torn between doing the "mom thing," working on my doula business, working on short term projects that I know will bring instant income, and trying to find other long-term work. We're meeting with a financial counselor on Sunday, and I'm hoping they can provide some direction. My preference would be to focus on the kids & my husband, and a secondary priority of building the doula business. I went ahead and applied for a part time job at B&N though.
  • My parents will be here Sunday for a visit. It will be a bit chaotic, but for good reason. They have interviews for teaching positions (an answered prayer). So, they'll be here a few days, gone for a few days, and then back for who knows how long.
  • I only have two more weeks of the Bible study I've been attending (A Divine Calling). It's been an awesome experience providing much needed social interaction and mother-support. I'm going to suggest on Monday that we continue meeting. Many of us are ordering the book Creative Correction (click link on my bookshelf on the left), so maybe we could do a study of that.

Sorry for the randomness of thoughts, but that's all I've got tonight. Randomness.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Yes, I'm a doula

It's possible you came to this blog through my website (http://www.nurtured-mother.com/). Or, maybe you're family, or a friend who's just checking in.
I realized that even though I started this blog months ago, I have yet to post anything about being a doula.

Though I'm just getting my doula business going, I've been blessed to be a part of a handful of births and pregnancies as a doula. I'm hoping that this continues to grow. I love helping women, especially during this awesome time of becoming a mother.

Doulas have been around for centuries, and yet they're not widely accepted or understood. Most people look confused when I say that I'm a doula--they have no idea what a doula is or what they do.

I want to change that. Not only do I want to work as a doula helping moms, I want to work for doulas. To help doulas find mothers trying to find the support that only a doula can provide. To encourage doctors to build relationships with doulas, and come to understand how vital they can be to their practice. To make having a doula the common place instead of the exception.

I support women no matter how they prefer to have their baby, but I also encourage them to embrace the birth experience--the way God created them. C-sections are dangerously on the rise, and medicated births are common place. I wish parents would take a second, step back, breathe, and seek out information that helps them make a decision that will equip them for an amazing birth experience. Blindly accepting whatever you're told (either by doctor, midwife, doula, or whomever) is dangerous, and possibly detrimental to your baby's well being (not to mention your own).

Sometimes I think I'm a better qualified advocate and business manager, than labor support person (a.k.a. doula, if you're one of those still trying to figure out what a doula is). I'm sure confidence will build with experience, but I pray my other mad crazy skills will help move doulas forward in America.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Top 10 Things Never to Say to a Pregnant Woman

10. When are you due?
9. You're really not that big.
8. Looks like you've dropped.
7. Wow, you're really showing.
6. Look at that belly!
5. When are you due, again?
4. You're still pregnant?
3. When are you going to let that baby out?
2. Are you sure you're not having twins?
1. No, seriously--when are you due?

The only thing you ever need to say to a pregnant woman: "You look fabulous."

Monday, July 7, 2008

Badgers, as promised

I have no idea when it started, but sometime early-on in our marriage badgers became a staple in our humor.
Then one day, as we were driving somewhere, I saw a bumper sticker that read "I poke badgers with spoons." This, of course, sent us into a fit of giggles.

O's current favorite book is simply called "Trucks." It tells about all kinds of trucks and the work they do. One truck picks up garbage. As O was reading along with his daddy (O likes to read the last word on every page), he mistakenly said "badgers" instead of garbage. Of course, his daddy thought this was hilarious, so O continued saying badgers for the rest of the story.
For days O would say badgers just to get his momma or dad to crack up. Like most things though, you forget why they were funny and it gets old.

Just a few days ago O's dad sneezed. Without skipping a beat, or even looking up from his toy, O said "Badgers, daddy, badgers." (Instead of bless you.) This of course, gave us all the giggles again.

This probably falls under the category of "You had to be there," but a cute story, nonetheless.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Just a little update

I know it's only been a week since I posted, but it feels like months. The kids are growing so fast, and learning so much.
The baby is crawling, and O is having a blast in the classes I enrolled him in.

I'm still adjusting. I find myself desperate for conversation several times during the day. Blogging helps, but I'm realizing I need to get out & spend time with other moms--"co-workers," if you will.
I realize that I used to spend the majority of my day talking with co-workers, and now some days I spend 90% of the day talking to a 3 year old.

I've connected with some moms through the Bible study that I'm taking, which is great, and I'm trying to meet more women at church.

Some really great news--I have 3 potential doula clients!!! Hooray! The website (www.nurtured-mother.com) is getting some great reviews. (Another shout out to the guys at The Tenfold Collective for creating an awesome site.) I've also been contacted for more marketing freelance work, so we might actually survive this summer.

Our finances are taking a major toll. Please pray with us that my husband is promoted soon. If we don't have a major increase in income soon, we'll be hurting pretty bad, which with the current economy is quite scary.

I hate to end on a down note, so let me give you something to look forward to next time. Badgers are really funny. In fact, badgers are a major source of laughter in our house. I'll tell you all about it next time, but you should check out www.badgerbadgerbadger.com in the mean time.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Little Victories

All weekend long my little boy went to the potty by himself!! This means he turned on the light, pulled down his pants & underwear, got on the potty, and redressed without my help!

Okay, for #2 I still had to assist in wiping, but these are MAJOR accomplishments in our house.

He was so excited, and I'm very proud of our little man!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Adventures of the Stay-at-Home Mom

I purposefully chose to "take it easy" while transitioning from working mom to stay-at-home mom. I didn't want to jump into classes, lessons, regular play dates, etc. until I had really gotten into a groove at home.
Thought we've definitely had some challenges (including O telling me to go to work & asking his daddy to stay home), it's going rather well. However, I was determined to continue on the "take it easy" routine for a while.

That being said, I joined a play date/bible study group for moms. Great, right? I thought it would be an excellent way for O to spend time with other kids while I could socialize and get support from other moms.
From previous blogs you can see how much I'm really enjoying the bible study, and O is having a blast with the kids.
However, this past Monday I realized that everyone is in swim lessons. (Okay, truly it was maybe 2 or 3 of the mothers who happened to have kids going or coming from swim lessons, but in my mind of "I've got to be a perfect mother" it seemed like I was the only one not providing this apparently essential life experience for my kiddos.) Tack onto this the constant decline from friends for get-togethers because their kids have karate, gymnastics, etc. etc. etc.
Yep, my "perfect mother" syndrome didn't take this too easy.
Needless to say, this morning I enrolled O in swim lessons, karate, and a "Petite Pioneers" experience at a farm. I also attempted enrolling him in rock climbing lessons, and debated on "Storybook Yoga." Rock climbing was full (BUMMER), and the husband finally stopped me before I went overboard with the yoga.
(I did try to enroll E in infant swim lessons, but I haven't yet found dates & times that work with our calendar.)

I am really excited, but it is sad to say good-bye to the "taking it easy" transition period. I have officially joined the ranks as a stay-at-home mom. Hoorah!

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Best Kid-Story of the Week

I ordered a new skirt that arrived yesterday in the mail. I put it on (mind you, I rarely ever wear skirts), and O says to me "Wow....pretty." Yep, my heart burst. I think I glowed the rest of the evening.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Day 50

Okay, so I'm not really counting every single day, but I was reading back through my blogs & thought I would count up how long since the "Day 1" post.
I can't believe it's already been 50 days--7 weeks!

Every so often I think: "If I were at Group right now what would I be working on?" Today I'd be at the field test gathering ideas for writing the new scripts for the marketing and training events for the 2009 program. I'd also be hosting 10-15 VBS directors from across the country, taking them to dinners and various activities. Of course, these two things would be in addition to the day-to-day marketing activities.

So, do I miss working at Group? Yep--it was a major part of my life, and I have a lot of cherished memories of the work I did there.

Now, do I wish I was back at Group? Not even a little bit. I don't even have much time to even dwell on those memories. I absolutely LOVE being home, and I'm willing to do whatever it takes to stay right here with my kiddos, supporting my husband, and working on projects that I feel God is leading me to work on.

I joined a new Bible Study today, led by an AMAZING woman, gifted mother, and someone I esteem highly. She's teaching on the noble, divine calling of being a mom. Today was the first class, and it was just a basic introduction--but, WOW just hearing words of encouragement was SO uplifting.

Being a mother (whether you're at home, or working, or whatever) IS a divine calling. It IS noble. It IS something God wants us to do & glorify HIM in bringing up these babies.

The first question Wendy (the amazing woman leading the study) asked was how did you imagine motherhood to be before you had kids.
I thought about that, and realized I had never really imagined myself as a stay-at-home mom. I really always imagined working, climbing ladders, busting through glass ceilings & whatnot. I always wanted to be a mom, but it was the icing on the cake. I never planned on being "just a mom." (I've realized now that the word "just" is horrible when referring to motherhood.)

Now, I'm seeing it as the opposite. My children and husband are my cake, the rest of the "stuff" is icing.

Starting my own business (which is turning out to be businesses), is great. I'm excited to do this work and bless other women. The real work though, the real BLESSING though, is raising my children. NOT cleaning house, NOT trying to be supermom, but truly raising my children is my VOCATION.

If you're a mom reading this--be encouraged, be UPLIFTED. God has called you to be a mother--no matter what circumstance put you in the vocation of motherhood YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED. It doesn't matter if you're reading this at the office, or in your bedroom while the kids are (finally) napping, or whatever. Seek out God's wisdom and guidance in how to raise your children despite your circumstances.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Coming Soon

My website is almost done!
It looks AMAZING (way to go Josh & The Tenfold Collective). These guys are awesome, and they've really outdone themselves designing a great site for me.

It should be ready for the viewing public in a week or so. Check it out when it's up: www.nurtured-mother.com

It's amazing how busy I am now that I'm home all the time. Between trying to get the doula business going, taking on random jobs here and there, and taking care of the kiddos and managing the house and my husband's school of music I feel like I'm busier than ever. Some of the up sides: my house is cleaner than its been in months and my stress level is lower than its ever been.

Monday, May 19, 2008

I don't make beds

Have you ever noticed that some people have that one thing (or multiple things) that just have to be done every day?
I am not that person. I don't make my bed. I'm sorry if that really bothers you. Sure, yes, when I'm cleaning my room I'll make the bed. For the most part though, it never receives the attention I'm sure other women would give to it.
I think maybe that I thought that when I came home I would turn into this amazing house-cleaning fanatic. That the random junk around our house would miraculously find homes, and I would joyously scrub each & every spot.
The first couple weeks being home I did a fair bit of cleaning. For the first time in months our kitchen floor was truly clean, and I was quite proud of that.

Let's talk about today. I'm sick. I ache, have a sore throat, and my energy is completely sapped. I'm doing good to feed the kids, and change diapers. Meanwhile, we have no groceries, no plan for dinner tonight, you can't see the sink because of the huge stack of dishes, and even if we wanted to eat at the table it's piled high with random junk.
My only claim to fame is that laundry is clean & folded. It's stacked in baskets & on beds, but it is clean.

I'm shocked that I'm totally okay with all of this. A few months ago I would've beaten myself up for not being perfect, for not doing this "right." It's okay though, and it doesn't really matter. I will eventually feel better, and then I'll clean. I'll do what I can today, and not worry about the salad that sat out all night on the table. My husband said he'll figure dinner out (the thought of food makes my stomache turn), and O can survive on pb&j until then.

You know, I don't make O make his bed either. It's really more of his nest anyway. He has a certain way he likes everything on his bed, and that's okay by me. One day, I'll teach him the finer details of a clean room & a well made bed, but I doubt I'll ever really make him make his bed each day. We have bigger things to tackle each day...like remembering that pee goes in the potty, not on the couch.

Monday, April 21, 2008

More on BPA

Playtex is offering FREE BPA-free products (it's the same bottle/nurser system I use, and I really like it).

www.playtexbaby.com/bpafree/info.html.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

E-mail warning on BPA

Just got this email from MomsRising.org, thought I'd share to get the word out.

BPA is also found in polycarbonate (Nalgene-type) bottles. Be sure to check out the Washington Post link at the bottom to learn how to reduce your exposure (i.e. no hot liquids in your Nalgene, no harsh detergents for washing, etc.).


----- Original Message -----
From: Donna, MomsRising
To: tamajean@msn.com
Sent: Saturday, April 19, 2008 11:48 AM
Subject: Stop Toxic Baby Bottles - Quick Action Needed
Dear MomsRising.org member,
The evidence is mounting. After years of concern about the safety of baby bottles, children's care products, and other food and beverage containers which contain the chemical bisphenol A (BPA), the verdict is in--and it's not good. Yesterday the Canadian government announced it is planning to ban the use of BPA in baby bottles, and declared BPA dangerous.[1] And, earlier this week, the Los Angeles Times reported that the U.S. based National Institutes of Health (NIH) concluded that there is "some concern" that babies, fetuses, and children are in danger because BPA harms animals at the low levels found in nearly all human bodies.[2] Sadly, a recent study found this chemical in all five leading brands of American baby bottles. It's enough to sink any mother's stomach. Let's take a second to take a collective deep breath, and then mobilize for major action. Sign a petition calling for the CEOs of the leading manufacturers of baby bottles to stop the use of BPA in our baby bottles and other children's products. TAKE ACTION: http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1768/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=1177 Sign on now and we'll send the petition to the CEOs of Avent, Disney/First Years, Dr. Brown's, Evenflo, Gerber, and Playtex in collaboration with Center for Health, Environment, & Justice and other organizations. *Can you also forward this email to five of your friends so they can sign too?
The more signatures, we have, the more the CEOs will get the message that consumers want healthy products, not toxins. With the current media attention on BPA, this is a critical moment to take advantage of that momentum and push these CEOs to stop using it in baby bottles. WHAT DOES BPA DO? Growing children are especially at risk to chemicals as they face greater exposure per pound of body weight. Even fetuses are susceptible as chemicals, including BPA, cross the placenta in pregnant women. Over 130 studies suggest that BPA exposure, even at low doses, is linked to many health problems, including early puberty, breast and prostate cancer, obesity, attention and hyperactivity disorder, brain damage, altered immune system, and lower sperm counts.[3] This is a widespread issue which we need to address together. A 2007 study by the Environment California Research and Policy Center found that all five leading brands of baby bottles leached BPA at levels found to cause harm in numerous laboratory studies.[4] It is time for all parents to take action!
*Click below to sign the petition now:
http://salsa.democracyinaction.org/o/1768/petition.jsp?petition_KEY=1177 Thanks for your work on behalf of all children. - Donna, Rachel, Kristin, Joan, Anita, and the MomsRising Team P.S. For tips on how to limit exposure to BPA, see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/04/15/AR2008041502161.html [1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/04/18/ST2008041803545.html [2] http://www.latimes.com/features/health/medicine/la-na-plastic16apr16,1,498138.story [3] http://www.environmentcalifornia.org/environmental-health/stop-toxic-toys/bisphenol-a-overview [4] http://www.environmentcalifornia.org/reports/environmental-health/environmental-health-reports/toxic-baby-bottles

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Day Four

Well, not every day can be the best day, but the last few haven't been that bad either.
We had a couple days of glorious sunshine, followed by, you guessed it--SNOW. Yes, in April, yes after nearly 80 degree hot sunshine.
Aaack! I know we need the moisture & all, but c'mon!!!!

I'm keeping busy. Still taking it slow, but easily getting things done. The bathrooms are clean. Hooray! They even smell clean. I'm planning the little man's birthday party & having a blast doing it. Worked on the goody bags today--wish I were a kiddo getting one of these, they're SO cool. Gave the girl a bath, and still had a couple hours to work on the transcription project. I'm really enjoying listening to these tapes, and I'm amazed how God is using them to speak into life for me right now.

The husband and I had a bit of an argument this morning. After taking some time apart to really think out why I was angry (besides the total lack of sleep the night before--note to self: no real serious conversations prior to breakfast), I realized that when he had asked a simple question I took it as an affront to how I do my "job." That is, the job of "mom"--running this household.

Ah-ha. Yep, okay, an egg, some bacon, a piece of toast, and a cup of tea--now we're ready to talk. We worked through it--almost 10 years of marriage & we're still learning how to do this right. He totally understood how I felt about doing my job without being questioned, and I definitely admitted that I was being a nasty, crabby, tired mommy.

It's nearly eleven, I'm blogging, working on a special project (can't say what b/c the receiver of this project might be reading), and contemplating what else I can fit into the day before crashing. I'm thinking: uh, yeah, just go to bed.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Day 1: Life After "Work"

Today marks my first official (working) day as "unemployed."

It's amazing what I can get done when I'm not having to check my work e-mail every 5 minutes!
I decided to take it easy the first few days to just adjust to this new life, but still I can't believe what I've gotten done already.

My poor husband really is not used to the idea yet either. Yesterday he was so concerned with making sure we had time to clean house before the week started. I had to remind him that I would be home all week, with plenty of time to clean--he should just enjoy being with his family. Today, he was rushing from one job to the next--he asked about dinner, what he needed to do, what could he get done in the next two minutes. Again, I reminded him that dinner was now my concern--not his. He shook his head, and said this is going to take some getting used to. I just smiled. I'm liking taking care of him for a change.

Praise the Lord! It was FINALLY over 70 degrees today. O played outside for the better half of the morning and afternoon. We had a blast "mowing" with his bubble mower, washing out all the outdoor toys, and digging in the soon-to-be garden. Fresh air is blowing through the house, and it's fabulous!

Beyond just getting house work done, and taking care of kids--I recently took on a transcription job--typing up interviews for a magazine editor I know. They're fantastic interviews with pastors across the globe. Some of what they say is just amazing, and I'm feeling ministered to while I'm working. It's pretty cool.

So far, so good--I'm enjoy life as "stay-at-home" mom.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

No children allowed

On Saturday I got a hair cut. Yeah!
I love it--short, but not too short, easy to clean & style--just what a busy mom needs. The stylist was really sweet & did a fantastic job, and was very accommodating for a busy mom's schedule.

I don't think I'll ever go there again. Let me tell you what happened.

I scheduled 3 haircuts, one for myself, my husband, and my almost 3 year old son. Based on feeding/napping/work schedules, somehow I landed 3 appts. that would work for our lives. The salon required a credit card hold for the appointments, and stressed that no children were allowed in the service area unless they were receiving a service themselves. No problem--if I were at the spa, I'd like to be free of kiddos too.

Wouldn't you know, my daughter decided to go to a 4-hour nursing schedule that threw a wrench in everything. I thought I could still work around everything on the fly. I nursed baby E in the car as to not disturb anyone in the salon, while O had his hair cut (supervised by his dad). My husband ran O to the car afterwards, and ran back in for his hair cut (as originally planned). As I burped E, I realized that my appt., scheduled for later in the afternoon would now collide with E's next feeding. AAACK! I called my hubby over & over trying to catch him before his appt. started.

Knowing that the salon would charge me for half my appt. fee (something we just can't afford), I grabbed the kiddos & marched into the very crowded salon.
Of course, my hubby & stylist were packed into a back corner & I had to navigate through the service area to get to them.
Again, this stylist is amazing, and was actually nearly done with my husband's cut. WOW!
I explained the situation to her, asking if she had another opening that day, or if we could do anything. She was very kind, and said no problem--she would start my haircut immediately after finishing my husband's.
I found a quiet corner (yes, in the service area) where I could hide for 5 minutes while we waited.

Okay--here's where I should explain. Yes, I knew their "no kids" policy, and yes, I was breaking that rule. I was however, trying to make the best of a difficult situation. Wading through stylists(they are literally packed into a very small space) with kids in tow to wait in the very crowded lobby area, I thought would be even more stressful for everyone in the salon rather than hiding in a quiet back area where very few people even noticed us.

Guess I was wrong.

Only seconds after sitting down, I realized I was being watched. Two ladies, obviously employees of the salon were conferring with each other, and I can only imagine it was about what to do with the frazzled mom & two (very WELL behaved) kids.

One finally approached me, and in an ever-so-condescending voice, proceeded to explain the "rules" to me as if I were the child. I attempted to explain the situation, but before I could continue--she did. Making it abundantly clear we were unwanted & I needed to leave the service area NOW.
Despite that my husband was seconds from finishing, I picked the kids up and headed to the lobby--nearly bumping into 5 people, only to find the lobby packed with people, and realized the only option was to go back to the car.
My husband was not long behind me, and I ran back in past the extremely rude non-customer oriented supposed "guest relations" employee to my awaiting stylist.

I thought about contacting the salon owner, and I might still. I do realize that I wasn't following their rules, but unlike the rude salon employee--I feel that I was at least attempting to be considerate of all parties involved.

Truly, the only real thing I'm miffed about is the total lack of customer relations this person showed me. I was a paying customer. She didn't ask if she could help me get relocated, she didn't ask if anything was wrong, but she was rude. Just totally unkind. She was more concerned with the salons rules, than her customer's needs.

Salons, spas, and the like need to realize that women--MOMS--are a vast majority of their clients. I'm not saying let's start bringing the kids. The salon is a great place to get a break, but let's get a little understanding for the rare circumstances that sometimes are out of our control.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

A baby story...part 1

I've been told that it's important for me to journal and share my birth experiences. That it's key to my healing, and hopefully can help other women.
So, here we go.

My first pregnancy was awesome. I had been healthy for the most part--a bit of nausea early on, but that's to be expected. My husband took such excellent care of me, and my only real complaint was my stress level at work.
Around 30 weeks I noticed that I was exceptionally puffy around my ankles and face. My mom had just come into town for my baby shower, so I took a few days off. I mentioned it to my lay-midwife (I had planned a home birth), but by the time I saw her for my appointment I seemed fine.
Fast forward 6 weeks later. In less than 2 weeks I had gained 20lbs. of water-weight, and my legs, feet, and face were more than puffy--they were huge. I just wasn't feeling "right" either. A friend of my who had severe pre-eclampsia had shared some of her symptoms with me. I called my lay-midwife & made an appointment immediately. I left work & headed straight to her office.
After take a urine sample, and taking my blood pressure (multiple times) she had me lay down. She continued to take my blood pressure & consult with her assistant.
They recommended I stop working, and go home for the remainder of my pregnancy. I thought they were being a bit over dramatic, but I agreed to "take it easy." I called work & let them know I'd be taking a few days off, and went home.
Being that it was free cone day at Ben & Jerry's, I couldn't stay in bed all day that day. (who gives up FREE ice cream?) I did rest for a bit at home, but then spent the evening walking around down town with ice cream.
The next day I just was feeling horrible. I read up on pre-eclampsia & became very scared. My lay-midwife called to check on me, and proceeded to tell me that I was way worse than I was grasping. It was necessary to see an ob/gyn immediately.
I made an appointment & headed in.
The same round of tests, laying me on my side to rest, and then the doctor said I needed to go to the hospital for observation immediately. (Notice how many times I had to be told "immediately.)
...to be continued.