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


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.