Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Getting Baby to Sleep


So 6 months into this parenting thing, we are still struggling with Cayden not sleeping. There is so much conflicting information out there. The pediatrician thinks he should be sleeping through the night by now. I've read other sources that say it's perfectly normal for him not to be sleeping through the night just yet. I've spoken to other mothers who say their babies didn't sleep through the night until they were 1 or 2 years old. Not only doesn't he sleep through the night, he's not big on napping during the day either. It would be nice to get a good night's sleep but I've accepted and gotten used to the fact that my baby is just not a good sleeper. I was prepared to wait this out and see if he ever starts sleeping but our pediatrician gave us a handout at our last appointment that gives tips for getting baby to sleep through the night and my curiousity has been piqued.

According to the author, Barton D. Schmitt, Cayden is a "trained night feeder". The author contends that after about 8 weeks, babies should start eating at longer intervals. Cayden still eats on pretty much the same schedule as he did when he first got home---every 2 hours or so. Besides not spacing out his feedings, there are a few other things that I am apparently doing that I shouldn't be. Getting him out of the crib the minute he wakes up crying is apparently a no-no if you want your child to sleep through the night. Nursing to sleep is also another reason that he may not be sleeping longer than he is. In all honesty, it is never my intention to nurse Cayden to sleep. It is my intention to feed him but he has always fallen asleep while he was nursing, even as a newborn. My attempts to wake him up were usually unsuccessful. Having him sleep in the same room with us is also a recipe for trouble apparently. Aside from the fact that I would like to get some sleep most of the time, I do want to help him sleep better and it worries me that he does not get as much sleep as he should. So, after reading through the document, there are a few things that I am willing to try.

1. Move his crib to another room- He has already outgrown his Pack n Play so we bought him a brand new full size crib for the other bedroom. He has been sleeping in it since Sunday. It's been an adjustment for all of us. We've been leaving the light on because I don't want him to wake up and freak out. The first night was something out of a dream. He slept from around 9:00 to 2:30 in the morning or so. The second night, we seemed to be right back to square one with him waking up every 2 hours on schedule. The third night was better. He slept from around midnight to 2:30 and then again from 2:30 am to 9:30 this morning. It's a work in progress but I think he'll get the hang of it eventually.

2. Trying to spread out his feedings- this has been harder for me because I constantly worry that he's hungry. We're starting out with 3 hours and will eventually work our way up to four. Yesterday, he woke up an hour after I'd fed him and laid him down to sleep. He was crying but I'm sure he wasn't hungry he just wanted the comfort of the boob. I put him in his bouncy seat and rocked him in it. He eventually quieted down but we only made it to 2.5 hours because he kept crying for the boob and I relented. I definitely need to break him of that habit. The article recommends distracting him but that is easier said than done.

3. Placing him in the crib drowsy- This is tough because even though Cayden is clearly sleepy, putting him in the crib seems to wake him right up. I have been having to lay him down while he's sleepy and he usually wakes up. But instead of picking him back up like I normally would, I leave the room. So far, the longest he's cried is 10 minutes before going back to sleep. I can deal with that.

4. Drop the night feeding to one feeding- This has worked for 2 of the past 3 nights. I think the fact that he seems to be doing it so quickly is a sign that he truly is just mostly comfort nursing at night. But, he has always been a big comfort nurser...even as a newborn. It took me a minute to figure out that he wasn't really eating when he seemed to be on my boob non-stop.

Not giving bottles in the crib does not apply to us and trying to get him to attach to another security object besides me is a long shot. He refuses to take a pacifier and he likes his stuffed toys but not as much as he likes me. The article says two weeks but I'm thinking we're going to need more like 30 days. I am seeing some improvement in only three days but it's not consistent so we have to keep working at it.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Black Friday...Lite


I am not much of a shopper. I don't shop for recreation. When I go to the store, I usually have something specific in mind. Most times, I get it and I leave. There are only a few stores that I browse in...Target, Publix, and Big Lots. The thought of going out after Thanksgiving and/or Christmas for the so-called Black Friday deals fills me with dread, not anticipation. I always get the sale papers and look through them all but never venture out to partake in the supposed savings. I spent most of the afternoon on Thanksgiving looking through the flyers and picking out the stores that I MAY decide to grace with my presence. Best Buy has a camcorder we've been eyeing for the lowest price we've seen yet. They also had some DVD movies that I've been wanting to see. I talked myself into at least going to Best Buy to get the camcorder. Then we got home and saw on the news that there was already a line forming at Best Buy and my resolve quickly started to wane.

I went to Best Buy's website at midnight hoping to be able to get the camcorder online. At 12:04, the site said the camcorder was sold out online. I decided to get the DVDs but apparently Best Buy no longer offers free shipping. There was no way I was paying $12 to ship 5 DVDs so I went to Amazon and was relieved to see that they had the same DVDs at the same price. I have a baby so camping out outside of Best Buy was not an option.So, no Best Buy this year.

So, how did I spend Black Friday? Well, my baby was up for the day at 7 so I bundled him up in the car and off we went to Walgreen's. I drove down Warm Springs Rd. so I could check out the crowds at Best Buy and the mall from a distance. I decided that I made the right decision. Why put up with all that hassle when it was highly likely that anything I wanted was already gone? Walgreen's had B&J ice cream for $1.99 and with my $1.00 coupon that means my favorite ice cream for $0.99. I also got some Triscuits so I could send in for a $10 rebate from Kraft. From there, it was off to Publix to get boneless skinless chicken breasts for $1.79/lb. I was supposed to go to Big Lots and Tuesday Morning after that but was too tired so I went home. My exciting shopping day ended with buying a purse on Wilson Leather's website and some Christmas presents on Bath & Body Works site.

I know I have a shopping gene but there is only so much I am willing to do to get a deal. Short of free, it takes a lot more than the promise of a deal to entice me out of my warm bed at 5 in the morning.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Finally...some validation

I subscribe to Muscle & Fitness Hers magazine because I get real fitness information without the fluff found in other magazines. I was so happy to read an article in the Nov/Dec issue that talks about low carb diets and lactation. I have been unhappy with my eating for months now and felt stuck because everything I read talked about how bad low carb diets were for breastfeeding and they all talked about how eating carbs was essential for a good milk supply.

The article cited a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition earlier this year. In a nutshell, the study found that lactating mothers on a reduced calorie diet (1800 calories) had significantly higher metabolism and burned more calories when they consumed only 30% of their calories from carbohydrates and dramatically increased their intake of good fats. More importantly, the study confirmed that reducing calories and carbs had no effect on the quality of the milk the women produced. In fact, the amount of fatty acids and calories in the milk were increased. Of course, the study is not available without paying for it but I found this site..he has some rather uninformed views about breastfeeding though...that references it and I've linked to the abstract above.

I am buoyed by this because now I have more specific guidelines about what to eat and I will no longer be a slave to carbs because I'm convinced that I have to eat them to produce milk. So, I've committed to tracking calories closely for the next few weeks and sticking to the 30% of calories from carbs ratio. I'm also going to do the leg routine in this issue since I have so much extra fat on my waist and thighs. So, here's my workout schedule from Nov.23 through Dec. 31.

Monday- Intervals, upper body workout
Tuesday- M&F Hers Thighs & Lows routine part 1
Wednesday- Turbo Kick class
Thursday- M&F Hers Thighs & Lows routine part 2
Friday- upper body workout

I think the Dumbbell Destruction and/or the Armed & Dangerous routines from this same issue look like good complementary upper body workouts.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Autumn Warmth

Published on my aromtherapy blog Nov. 2006

Autumn is one of my favorite times of year. Autumn in Georgia has turned out to be fairly short this year. It is usually well into November before it gets really cold here. The overnight forecasts for this week calls for temperatures in the 30's and there has already been snow in some parts of the country.If it is so cold and snowy now, what does the rest of the fall/winter season have in store for us? To help counteract the chill and dampness of this season increasing your intake of certain spices during the winter months may help keep you warm from the inside out.

Ginger
Chinese medicine, Ayurveda, and Western nutrition all include ginger at the top of their list of warming winter spices. Ginger also calms an upset stomach, aids digestion, and serves as an anti-inflammatory. Ginger can be simmered as a tea, added to soups, stir fries, and meat or chicken dishes, or, for the more gutsy types, eaten raw.

Cinnamon
Cinnamon helps soothe mild gastrointestinal conditions such as bloating and preliminary government research indicates that a teaspoon of cinnamon daily may lower high blood sugar. Cinnamon is one of the easier spices to fit into your diet. Simply sprinkle it on oatmeal, fruit, yogurt, ice cream, etc... You can also make a spicy rub to use on seafood or poultry by mixing 2 parts cinnamon, 2 parts cayenne pepper, 2 parts salt and 1 part sugar.

Turmeric
Turmeric is an important health-promoting winter spice. Curcumin, a component of turmeric is being researched for its anticancer properties. A member of the ginger family, turmeric has active ingredients (curcuminoids) and beneficial essential oils that are optimally digested after undergoing cooking. Add 1/2 teaspoon turmeric to pots of homemade soup, especially bean soups, rice dishes, and curries; it goes well with spices like chili powder, cumin, bay leaf, parsley, and oregano. Don't use too much as it can taste bitter.

Cayenne Pepper

Cayenne Pepper is a member of the chili pepper family. It contains capsaicin and warms the body by helping increase circulation. Cayenne pepper should be used in moderation. A pinch of cayenne livens up chili, spaghetti sauce and vinaigrettes.Warming spices are not just good for their flavors—they warm us up from the inside out and are good, healthy ingredients to use even when it's not cold outside.

Recipe: Spiced Chai Latte


's been a brrrr kind of week here in Georgia so far. Most of us will be lighting our fireplaces in no time to beat the chill. This homemade chai tea is filled with herbs that warm you from the inside out. You can experiment with any combination of the spices below and the following: licorice root, fennel seed, allspice berries, bay leaves, nutmeg, orange peel, coriander seed, mint leaves, vanilla bean, and lemon. Once you find a combination you like. Mix it up in bulk and store in a closed jar so it's ready when you are in the mood to whip some up or to give as gifts. You can also coarsely grind the spices up in a coffee grind instead of crushing with a knife. If you will be storing the spice blends, omit the fresh herbs, like ginger, and add them when you are ready to make the tea.

INGREDIENTS
2 cups water or milk
10 to 20 cardamom pods, crushed in a mortar or with a knife handle
3 whole cloves
1/4 tsp. black peppercorns, slightly crushed
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
1 1/2-inch piece of ginger, sliced and crushed with the handle of a knife
4 tsp. loose black tea, such as English Breakfast tea or Darjeeling
honey to taste

Put the milk or water in a 2-quart saucepan and add the spices and ginger. Bring to a boil being careful not to let it boil over. Then lower the heat and simmer for 3 minutes. Add the tea leaves and simmer 3 more minutes. Turn off the heat, cover the pan, and let steep for 2–3 minutes longer (taste to make sure the tea doesn't get too strong), then strain into teacups. Serve with honey or desired sweetener.

Dove? For Sensitive Skin?

Published on my aromatherapy blog 1/2007

This article succinctly captures one of my biggest pet peeves...the apparent disconnect, for most of us, between what goes in our bodies and what goes on our bodies. The consumer who stated that she uses Dove soap in response to an allergic reaction is especially troubling. Has anyone read the label for a bar of Dove lately? Below is the ingredient list for Dove's sensitive skin bar. I've highlighted the natural ingredients but sodium tallowate, though natural, is rendered animal fat which can dry the skin and coconut acid is a vague term that can mean a lot of things natural or un-natural.

Sodium Cocoyl Isethionate, Stearic Acid, Coconut Acid, Sodium Tallowate, Water, Sodium Isethionate, Sodium Stearate, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Sodium Cocoate or Sodium Palm Kernelate, Sodium Chloride, Sweet Almond Oil, Rosewood Oil, Cedarwood Oil, Rose Oil, Tetrasodium EDTA, Tetrasodium Etidronate, Titanium Dioxide (CI 77891).



Get past skin deep: Consumers too easily buy into personal-care
Chicago Sun-Times, Mar 12, 2006 by Leigh Grogan

We're pretty picky when it comes to what we eat and drink. But when it comes to our personal-care products and cosmetics -- cleansers, toners, shampoo, body lotion, eye shadow, sunscreen, foundation -- we plunk down the cash (about $35 billion a year) and forget about it.
Moisturizers have earned our trust and loyalty more than milk. If they're sold in a drugstore or a department store -- and all the better, endorsed by a gorgeous celebrity -- they must be OK. Plus, we believe in the names -- L'Oreal, Olay, Estee Lauder, Neutrogena.

Still, if we had to, could we decipher the ingredients? Get a load of these: "tridecyl stearate," "triethanolamine" and "methylparaben."
Increasingly, there's a push to give users of the estimated 8 billion personal-care products and cosmetics in the United States the tools and the knowledge to learn.
From new legislation to consumer-based Web sites, we're getting more ways to find out what is going on our bodies as well as what's going in them.

While no one is saying that what we keep in our bathrooms is going to kill us, watchdog groups are applauding such endeavors to educate consumers.
The Food and Drug Administration regulates the personal-care and cosmetics industries. Unlike the FDA's authority over drugs and medical devices, its oversight over cosmetics is less intensive. Cosmetics and their ingredients -- except for colors -- are not subject to FDA pre-market approval.
Pretty packaging and promises of newfound youth in a jar can go a long way to distract consumers from the label.
"The marketing that goes on in this [the cosmetics] industry can be upsetting at best and unlawful at worst," says Dr. Julia Hunter, a skin specialist in Los Angeles.
"Most of what's in personal-care products are fillers with no therapeutic benefits," she asserts. "You might as well drink a bunch of water [for the health of your skin] and buy something cheap."

Some consumers will turn to either a trained aesthetician or a dermatologist if trouble does erupt. Rene Monero, director of aesthetics education and treatment development at Gene Juarez Salons and Spas in Seattle, says the No. 1 condition she sees is sensitive skin that's red or flushed. Sometimes it's an allergic reaction to a product.
Because of some skin issues she was experiencing, Linda Shultz, 41, of Sacramento, Calif., began looking more closely at her face and body products.
"Before, I switched around products and didn't look at the labels," Shultz says. "After my itchy skin developed, I started looking at what was in the products . . . particularly the first several ingredients."
Now, Shultz has a specific regiment: a sea salt mixture for her body, Dove soap and Jason Natural Cosmetics hand lotion.

WHAT TO LOOK OUT FOR
Some tips from the experts:
-Cosmetics guru and author Paula Begoun: "Never buy a product claiming to contain antioxidants or fancy ingredients [such as plant extracts] and that comes in a jar. These ingredients don't like air and sunlight; sticking your finger in [the container] contaminates the product. Opt for tubes and pumps."
- Dr. Julia Hunter, Los Angeles: "When you visit a cosmetics counter, always ask to see the box the product comes in because that's usually where the ingredients are listed, not on the bottle or jar. If you shop in open-sell stores [drugstores, supermarkets], read the ingredients label before buying."
- Dr. Suzanne Kilmer, director, Laser and Skin Surgery Center, Northern California: "If you experience sensitive or irritated skin, and you use dryer sheets, stop using them. Most people don't realize that the fibers [in the sheets] are coated with perfume."
-Carrie Stern, Quick & Simple magazine: "Look for products that have SPF (sun protection factor) 15 or higher and contain physical blockers like titanium dioxide or zinc oxide."
For more information, check:
- www.safecosmetics.org.
- www.cosmeticsaresafe.org
- www.ctfa.org
Scripps Howard News Service
Copyright CHICAGO SUN-TIMES 2006Provided by ProQuest Information and Learning Company. All rights Reserved.

Monday, September 07, 2009

Postpartum Fitness Routine

So, I got the great idea a few weeks ago to maximize my now limited workout time by only doing cardio and weight circuit type workouts. Here's a list of the workouts I did for the first week...

Sunday- Firm Super Cardio Mix- did a 30 minute customized routine
Monday~ Women's Health Ultimate Fat Burn
Wednesday~ Fitprime Lean
Thursday~ Fitprime Strong Bear
Saturday~ Cathe Low Impact Step

I was so proud of myself for getting a workout in for a record 5 days. I continued the following week by doing Firm Vol. 4 Time Crunch on Monday and another 30 minute custom workout from Super Cardio Mix on Tuesday. Then something weird started to happen. Not only was I super tired during the day...more tired than usual...I started having trouble with my breast milk supply. I pump during the day at work and I was getting about half what I normally get. It was really frustrating. The only thing that changed was that I had changed the workouts I was doing and trying to work out more frequently. These were not even my toughest workouts but somehow all the increased activity was causing serious issues with my supply.

So, I have reluctantly gone back to what I was doing before this seeminly efficient idea popped into my head...Leslie Sansone workouts or walks in the park alternated with weight training. Right now, I am rotating the big muscle circuit from Abs Diet 2 and Crunch Total Resculpt as my weight workouts. I did do Cathe's Low Impact Circuit on Saturday just for a change of pace but I didn't do every segment because I don't have over an hour to workout anymore. Since I've gone back to what I was doing before, the supply is back to normal. Go figure. I don't know if it was the type of workouts or the frequency of the workouts that caused the problem.

So, this led me to start searching online for any information on what is appropriate postpartum exercise and here are a few helpful links I found:

Lose Your Mummy Tummy

Mama Notes

Exercise After Birth

Breastfeeding & Exercise: Do They Mix?...good info in these studies although they recorded the opposite of what I experienced.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Hypertonic Contractions

This was the beginning of the end for me. I had been having normal mild contractions on and off since Friday afternoon. The contractions went from every 6 to 7 minutes during the early morning hours on Monday to pretty much stopping Monday afternoon with one short one every hour or so. One long contraction that never really subsided started about 9 p.m. and was still going when my husband got home at 11:30. It was impossible for me to sit or stand because the pain was even worse when I did. Since it wasn't what I read a contraction was supposed to be like, I called my OB's office and was told by the on-call midwife to come into the ER so they can check me and make sure everything was OK. I went in fully expecting to be sent home.

An excerpt from "Maternal & Child Health Nursing":

"In contrast to hypotonic contractions, hypertonic contractions tend to occur frequently and are most commonly seen in the latent phase of labor. This type of contraction occurs because the muscle fibers of the myometrium do not repolarize or relax after a contraction thereby "wiping it clean" to accept a new pacemaker stimulus. They may occur because more than one pacemaker is stimulating the contraction. They tend to be more painful than usual because the myometrium becomes tender from the constant lack of relaxation and the anoxia of uterine cells that result.

A danger of hypertonic contractions is that the lack of relaxation between contractions may not allow optimal uterine artery filling; this could lead to fetal anoxia early in the latent phase of labor. Any woman whose pain seems out of proportion to the quality of her contractions should have both a uterine and external fetal monitor applied for at least 15 minutes to ensure that the resting phase of the contractions is adequate and that the fetal pattern is not showing late deceleration.

If deceleration in the fetal heart rate, an abnormally long first stage of labor, or lack of progress with pushing (second stage arrest) occurs, cesarean birth may be necessary. Both the woman and her support person need to understand that although the contractions are strong, they are ineffective and are not achieving cervical dilation."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

My Mommy Belly

Wow! I can't believe how long it's been since I wrote. My baby is keeping me so busy and I've been back at work for almost a month now so that sure isn't helping in the time department. Despite having a wonderful new baby to occupy my time and mind, I have still found time to obsess about how pregnancy has affected my body. At my 6 week check-up, I was pretty much back to my pre-pregnancy weight except for about 5 extra pounds. If I weigh close to what I weighed before I got pregnant, I wondered why I still look like I'm 3 to 4 months pregnant. I got online and obessively searched for postpartum belly pics just to be sure that I wasn't some anomaly. Well, it turns out I am. Yes, most of the women in the pictures I saw had a bit of a pouch a few days or weeks postpartum but none of them looked liked they were pregnant. I finally decided to stop looking up these pictures because it was starting to depress me.

It didn't help when I went back to work that the only clothes that fit me now are the ones that were too big before I got pregnant. I even wore one of my maternity dresses to work one day because the other dresses were really tight around my belly. Most of my shirts will no longer fit around my breastfeeding sized boobs either. And to add insult to injury, one of my co-workers very stupidly said to me on my 3rd day back.."when are you due again". I already had the baby idiot! I noticed over the last week or so that my stomach has shrunk just a little more. Today, I wore the pants that I wore on my first day back and I could actually button them up this time. So, my progress is slow but my belly is still shrinking. I was watching a slide show on MSN today about pregnant women getting their body back after having a baby. There was one lady who posed in a bikini...looking fantastic I might add...and basically said she didn't do anything. Her body just snapped back 3 weeks after she had the baby. Women like that make me sick. They really do.

I'm the kind of person that must find a solution to things that are bothering me and there are two things that have been bothering me since I had my baby. In addition to why my belly is shrinking so slowly, I am bothered by why doctors..at least mine...give so little information about c-sections and c-section recovery. I swear my doctor acted like I just had a scratch on my arm when he had cut my belly and uterus open. I had a lot of pain and swelling for the first 3 weeks and all he did was offer me tylenol with codeine. I almost felt as though, he thought I shouldn't have any pain and I was just being a whiny baby. I also want to uncover the reason why I ended up with a c-section. I know what they told me but I'm not totally buying it. So for the next few weeks, months, years...however long it takes to reach a point of satisfaction, I will be posting general information on c-sections, the real reason for my c-section, and losing the baby belly for those of us whose bodies don't just "snap back" after 3 weeks.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Seaweed

Another post from my aromatherapy blog...

Originally published: Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Aug/Sep 2005 Newsletter

Seaweed is our topic this month...

What is Seaweed?
Seaweed has long been reputed to remineralize and detoxify the body, revitalize the skin and heal wounds. In fact, French studies have shown that the minerals in seaweed do have the ability to penetrate the skin. But, can seaweed really reduce wrinkles, tighten the skin, and eliminate cellulite?

When it comes to skin, there's a lot to like about seaweed. It's packed with minerals, and nutrients like Vitamin A, Vitamin E, and essential fatty acids. However, to realize seaweed's full effects on the skin, the right amount must be applied. Most of the products on the market today contain miniscule amounts of seaweed and seaweed extracts. Hardly enough to make a difference on the skin, even when applied regularly.

Another consideration is that seaweed should be as pure as possible to ensure that its minerals and vitamins are retained. Buying dried seaweed, in its original sheet form, at the local health food store is one of the best ways to reap its benefits for the body. To maximize the benefits of the seaweed and to increase its penetration into the skin, the skin should be dry brushed with a natural bristle brush first to stimulate the outer layer of the skin.
Possibly, the best way to reap the benefits of seaweed is to incorporate it into your daily diet. It's no secret that what you put into your body ultimately reflects on the outside. Chopped seaweed can be tossed in salads, eaten with sushi, sprinkled into soups, and used in baked goods like cookies and breads.

Despite all its benefits, there is one seaweed claim that may not hold water. Seaweed has long been reported as a cure for cellulite. Most experts agree and studies have shown that seaweed does not cure cellulite. Cellulite is largely genetic, has nothing to do with how fit you are, and is virtually impossible to get rid of. Most of the products on the market today can only improve the appearance of cellulite and they do not contain seaweed as an active ingredient. The underlying cellulite is still there waiting for you to stop using the product so that it can make its comeback. If you can't afford the expensive spa treatments that are used nowadays to treat cellulite, an easy and cheap remedy is regular and vigorous massage of the affected area. This can be incorporated into a daily dry brushing routine.

Seaweed comes in several different forms:

Kelp-(Laminaria), the most prolific sea plant on America's shores, contains vitamins A, B, E, D and K, is a main source of vitamin C and rich in minerals.
Dulse-(Palmariapalmata), rich in iron, protein, and vitamin A, is delicious with walnuts, spinach and rice.
Kombu-(Laminaria digitata, setchelli, horsetail kelp) is a meaty, high-protein seaweed.
Hijiki-is a mineral-rich, high-fiber seaweed, with 20 percent protein, vitamin A, carotenes and calcium. Hijiki has the most calcium of any sea green, 1400 mg per 100 gr. of dry weight.
Wakame-(Alaria, undaria) is a high- protein, high- calcium seaweed, with carotenes, iron and vitamin C and is widely used in the Orient for hair growth and luster and for skin tone.
Nori-(Porphyra, laver) is a red sea plant with a sweet, meaty taste when dried.
Arame-(Eisenia bycyclis) is one of the ocean's richest sources of iodine.
Sea Palm-(Postelsia palmaeformis), American arame, grows only on the Pacific coast of North America. It has a sweet, salty taste that goes especially well as a vegetable, rice or salad topping.
Bladderwrack-Bladderwrack is packed with vitamin K, an excellent adrenal stimulant.
Irish moss-(Chondrus crispus, carrageen) is full of electrolyte minerals--calcium, magnesium, sodium and potassium.

Recipe- Seaweed Mineral Spa Bath


High quality, dried seaweed can be purchased at health food stores. The cost is about $15.00 for a dried pound, which is enough for about five baths.

1. Boil water in a large pot filled about 3/4 full and remove from heat.

2. Add about 3 ounces of seaweed to hot water and steep for thirty minutes.

3. Fill bath with water, add seaweed "tea" to bath—seaweed and all.

4. Add 2 drops cypress essential oil, 3 drops lemon essential oil, 1 drop juniper essential oil, 1 drop lavender essential oil to the bath, if desired.

5. Relax in bath for twenty to thirty minutes.

6. Rub seaweed gently over skin, if desired, to transfer seaweed's gel to skin surface.

For best results do not rinse seaweed residue off skin for at least an hour. After your bath, pat skin dry with a towel, wrap yourself in a soft, warm robe, drink water to rehydrate and relax! Repeat once a week for one month. If you have thyroid problems, please consult your physician first.

Who knew...

When my mom had my two youngest brothers, I was in high school. Maybe it was because I wasn't responsible for their full time care but they seemed like such easy babies. Taking care of Cayden is making me realize that there is so much I didn't know and probably still don't know. Breastfeeding sounded simple enough but I've learned that you have to make sure they're latched on properly, that they nurse for a certain amount of time, that they nurse on each breast, that you're pumping when you're not able to breastfeed...yadayadayada. I always thought that as long as they're sucking, they're eating. Wrong. Apparently, some babies like to comfort nurse. I've just realized that my boy has such a strong sucking reflex that he has spent quite a bit of time using my nipple as a pacifier when I thought he was nursing. I had no idea. We also got into the habit of him falling asleep on the breast. Now he won't fall asleep on his own. I'm started trying to put him down to sleep when he's sleepy but not asleep. He cries and sticks his hands and fingers in his mouth to suck on because he needs it to feel soothed. Surprisingly, he still will not take a pacifier. He's still holding out for the breast.

Although I try to be strong and not put him back on the breast sometimes he cries so frantically that I cave and put him on the breast hoping that he really is hungry and doesn't just want to comfort nurse. No. He sucks superficially and falls asleep almost immediately. This is what we've been struggling with for the past two weeks. He gets super fussy from about 6 p.m. to 10 or 11 at night and it's so tempting to stick my nipple in his mouth so he'll just go to sleep but I know that will just start another cycle of him sucking on my nipple for hours and crying when I try to remove the nipple and put him down to sleep. He's wonderful during the day but there's just something about night time.

Did I mention that he hates to sleep in his crib? He hates to sleep on his back. He hates having his diaper changed. He hates his sponge baths. I would love to give him a real bath but he still cries when I sponge bathe him so I can only imagine how he would react if I submersed him in water.

Despite all this, I still think he is a wonderful baby and I feel lucky to have him. We'll work through the comfort nursing thing and all those other issues I'm sure. I just thought that caring for a baby would be a lot more straightforward than I'm experiencing. They cry. You feed them, burp them, change them and they stop crying. Wrong again!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Meet the Grandparents

Cayden is 3 weeks olds today and he's put on another pound since his first pediatrician appointment. He now weighs 9 lbs. 2 oz. and has outgrown the newborn diapers. I think it's the way he's shaped. All the weight seems to be going to his belly, legs, and arms so the newborn diapers started to be tight around the belly and legs. We've started using the size 1 diaper but they're still a little big. We drove to Tennessee over the weekend so he could meet his paternal grandparents. It sounded like a good idea at the time but we were all exhausted by the time we got up there and by the time we got home. I pumped breast milk for him so we wouldn't have to make stops to feed him on the way up there.

We still had to stop to change diapers so the trip still took 2 hours longer than it normally does and my boy was so cranky the whole way up there because he does not like the bottle. He threw up for the first time since he's been born and it scared me. The ride up there was just really stressful so on the way back, we stopped so I could breastfeed, burp him, and just give him a break from the carseat and everyone was much better. He cried for the last hour or so of the trip but who could blame the little guy. This trip was definitely too ambitious and too soon. I was planning to fly to Alaska around December so my family can meet him but now I'm thinking when he's closer to a year old would be better. I'm thinking it's best to just tell everyone, if you want to see the baby, you need to come to us.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

He's Here...

I finally have a moment to post that my boy is here. He was born on June 9 @ 9:27 p.m. and weighed 7 lbs. 11 oz. The birth did not go as I was hoping since I ended up with a C-section. My midwife believes that after 22 hours of labor, his head was just too big to make it through my pelviss. His head measured 14.25 inches at birth so I guess it was pretty big but from what I've been reading, that is a fairly average head circumference. There's still so many questions that I need answered before I can be fully OK with all this. I'm trying to get to the point where I can write or even think about my birth experience without getting angry. I'm not angry that I had a c-section. I'm angry that the L&D hospital staff were so inept and unprofessional. I fully intend to file complaints with the appropriate people. If nothing else, I did not want the memory of his birth marred but they did their best to ruin the experience for us. Every nightmare story that I read from other mothers who had to endure inept and uncaring hospital staff seemed to play out for me within the first few hours of my arrival at the hospital.

On a more positive note, my son is absolutely beautiful. He's two weeks old and he is changing every day. He almost looks like a completely different baby than when he was born. Everyone says that he looks like me but I think he looks more like my husband. He is an overall easy baby to care for although he does have his cranky moments. I feel so fortunate to have him and I'm trying my best to enjoy these early days with him and not get too caught up with how much I would rather have a full night's sleep and how much easier it would be if I was formula feeding instead of breast feeding. I won't get this time back and I won't get any do-overs.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Progress...

I've been up since about 5:45. I woke up with a crampy feeling in my stomach and felt like I had to use the bathroom. I sat down on the toilet and felt this weird popping sensation. I looked in the toilet and my mucus plug had come out. It's almost two hours later and I have not been able to go back to sleep. Between the crampy feeling in my stomach and constantly feeling like I need to use the bathroom, sleep has been impossible. Also, for some reason, the cramps feel more painful when I am lying down.

I've been having very mild contractions since Friday afternoon but they gave me hope that something was going to happen and instantly lifted my mood. I realized that if my baby was late, I was OK with it as long as I could feel and see signs of progress from my body. Before Friday, there was virtually no sign that my body was doing anything. I left work determined that I was going to have a baby by Monday.

I went to my favorite nail salon and got a manicure and pedicure after work on Friday because I've read that massage can stimulate certain pressure points that activate labor. If nothing else, that foot massage felt wonderful on my swollen feet. I then went to New Image Medspa and got a prenatal massage on Saturday. It was heavenly. I fell asleep and knew I was snoring because my own snoring woke me up several times. I also got my husband to massage my nipples since nipple stimulaton could also help to get labor going. I seem to have lost most of the sensation in my nipples so the rubbing just started to annoy me after awhile.

One of my coworkers on Friday also mentioned that she ate Top Hat Chicken right before she went into labor with her first baby. I thought, WTH, it couldn't hurt. So, my husband and I ate that for dinner yesterday. They've opened up a new location on the corner of Broadway and 13th St. and the chicken was very spicy and very good. Some of the best fried chicken we've eaten.

So, now here I sit hoping and praying that this is it and we will get to meet our son in the next day or so. If the contractions continue through today, I definitely will not be going to work tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Still Patiently Waiting...

Well, I will be 39 weeks in about 2 days or so and our son is showing no signs of wanting to come. My blood pressure was high at my doctor's appt. last week so I was instructed not to go back to work that day and to rest over the weekend. It had dropped a little at my re-check but they want to keep monitoring it. I had some mild contractions on Saturday night/Sunday morning but nothing since. The last few weeks of pregnancy are absolute torture. You know in the early months of pregnancy that the baby won't be coming anytime soon. But, as the due date gets closer, the anticipation rises. I'm afraid to be excited at this point because this could drag out to 42 weeks and I so don't want that. I'm trying to be patient but every fear I have about pregnancy is being magnified now that it's looking unlikely that he will be here by his due date.

1. What is he goes to 42 weeks and I end up being induced or worse yet a c-section?
2. What if something happens to him during the time that he's overdue?
3. What if my labor is more difficult because he's had more time to get bigger?

I honestly don't want him to be taken out of my body. I want him to make his way out the normal way. I guess the longer he takes to get here, the more my fear of that happening increases. None of my mental pep talks seem to be helping. He still has 8 days to get here but every day that goes by makes me more anxious and fearful. I know I just need to trust my baby. He knows what to do and he'll do it when the time is right. I still can't help but worry.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Anti-Bacterial Myth

I thought this would be appropriate to post from my aromatherapy blog since I am currently battling a minor cold...

Originally posted: Wednesday, October 04, 2006
The Anti-bacterial Myth

NaturAromas Newsletter
The Anti-bacterial Myth
September/October 2006
In This Issue

Do You Ever Need An Anti-bacterial?
Recipe: Anti-bacterial Wipes

Greetings!
I am frequently asked whether the soaps I offer are anti-bacterial. The answer is that traditional soaps are naturally anti-bacterial. The belief that added anti-bacterial ingredients, like Triclosan, offer benefits that regular soaps do not is largely the result of marketing.

Several studies have proven that products marketed as anti-bacterial are no more effective than regular soap and water to clean and fight bacteria. Even the FDA has gone on the record saying that anti-bacterial products are a waste of money.
Besides being unnecessary, synthethic anti-bacterials can do more harm than good. According to a recent report from researchers at John Hopkins University, the anti-bacterial chemicals that we send down the drain survive treatment at sewage plants and make their way into the sludge used on agricultural land.

The overreliance on these anti-bacterials, as well as the prevalence of anti- bacterials in the market may actually create the same situation they are designed to prevent.
Bacteria and microbes, like humans, are very adept at adapting. When continually exposed to the same anti-bacterial agents, microbes eventually develop a resistance to its killing effects. This means that over time, the bacteria become stronger and more virulent.

Do You Ever Need An Anti-bacterial?

An anti-bacterial is useful in some situations.
When you are caring for an ill person in your home. Hospitals use anti-bacterials to limit the spread of germs among its patients. Cleaning sick rooms with alcohol is also an effective way to kill bacteria.
When washing with soap and water is not practical or available. If you choose one of the anti-bacterial "hand sanitizers", be sure to keep it on your hands for at least 2 minutes and allow it to dry to increase its effectiveness. Some recommend using an anti-bacterial soap to help control body odor. Other than making you smell extremely perfumey, the anti-bacterial soap won't control body odor any better than traditional soap.

It is important to note that there are many essential oils that contain well researched and proven anti- bacterial and anti-microbial properties. If you prefer to use an antibacterial, using one that relies on natural ingredients is probably a safer bet in the long run. Tea tree oil is probably the strongest anti- bacterial anti-fungal, and anti-microbial essential oil. Other oils high in anti-bacterial properties include patchouli, lavender, eucalyptus, lemon, clove, oregano, black pepper, thyme, bay, sage, lemongrass, bergamot, and peppermint.


Recipe: Anti-bacterial Wipes

This easy recipe for antibacterial wipes is a natural alternative to the chemical laden wipes found in grocery stores. Use them to wipe down counters and other surfaces, and to clean hands or messy little faces. They can even be used as baby wipes!


1/4 cup natural liquid Castile soap
2 cups hot water (aloe vera gel can be substituted if using as baby wipes)
2 teaspoons vinegar
1 roll of good quality paper towels
10 drops lavender essential oil
5 drops rosemary essential oil
5 drops tea tree essential oil

Have handy two containers with tight fitting lids that are large enough to hold the flattened paper towels. Tear off the paper towel sheets and either fold each in half for tougher jobs or tear each paper towel in half and place one in each container for lighter jobs. If folding the paper towel, alternate placing in both containers so that each container contains an equal amount of sheets. If you have a conical shaped container like the one shown in the picture, cut the roll in half, remove the inner cardboard tube and place each roll half in a container.Mix all the other ingredients together in a separate container. Pour half of the mix into each container over the paper towels. Cover tightly and let sit for 24 hours to allow liquid to sink into the paper towels.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Patience is a virtue

You know I spent quite a bit of time hoping that my boy would be early. That hope has pretty much been shattered. First, I started reading Ina May's Guide to Childbirth. She quoted some stats that sixty something percent of first time mothers are an average of 2 weeks overdue. Then I talked to my mom, hoping that she would reassure me. The first words out of her mouth were that my sister (her first) was overdue by two weeks *sigh*. Then I read somewhere else that the baby should be head down by 35 weeks or so. My boy has shown no signs of wanting to stay head down. He'll turn that way but he doesn't stay that way. So, I'm trying to get it in my head that I could be having my baby nearer to the end of June than the middle. I know worrying about it is not going to help. I'll just have to accept that this is yet another thing that I have no control over. He will turn head down and come out when the time is right.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

33 week belly pic

My wonderful co-workers threw me a baby shower two weekends ago. I got so many wonderful things and we got the big items. My MIL bought us the cutest travel system and my co-workers got us a crib and so much other cute stuff. Here's a picture of me getting the buffet line going.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Crown Princess Review

I was reading through my previous entries and realized I never posted my opinion of this cruise. In a nutshell, this cruise was awful. We thought there was no such thing as a bad cruise but Princess proved us wrong. Here's the review I put on Cruise Critic.

Longest 7 Days of My Life....

Embarkation & Debarkation

We flew out of Atlanta to Ft. Lauderdale the day before our cruise was to set sail. We booked a room at the Courtyard Marriott Airport. For whatever reason, it took us longer to get to the hotel from the airport than it took for us to get to FLL. The hotel was only operating one shuttle bus and there were quite a few of us so the shuttle got filled up quickly and we had to wait for him to drop off the group before us and then come back to get us. We loved the hotel. The room was great, the hotel was clean, and the staff was very helpful and friendly. The only drawback to this hotel is that the only dining options nearby are a mediocre seafood restaurant and Subway. If you want something else, you'll have to take a cab. There is also no shopping other than a Bass Pro Shops. The breakfast buffet offered by the hotel is an excellent value and quite tasty. The hotel offers a shuttle to the cruise port and unlike the shuttle from the airport, it was run very smoothly. We arrived at the port a little after 12:00 and this has got to be one of the quickest embarkations ever. There was a line to get into the building but once inside, there was absolutely no waiting. I think we were on the ship within 15 minutes of getting off the shuttle and most of that time was taken up by security. Debarkation went just as smoothly. Once they called our color number to come to the dining room, our seats weren't even warm before we were called to debark. Our bags were waiting in the terminal and the customs area was adequately staffed so we were off the ship in record time.

The Ship

The Crown Princess is a beautiful ship. It's very tastefully decorated and one of the easiest ships to navigate in our experience. We liked our balcony cabin but thought it felt a little cramped compared to our cabin on Carnival Legend. I don't think the cabin was smaller. It was just a different layout which changed the feel of the room. I only have three complaints about the ship itself. First, it rocks entirely too much and too severely. The very first night, we experienced a very rocky ride on our way to Princess Cays. There was also an awful rocky ride on our way to Turks & Caicos. This was truly the worst night of the cruise. It made it very difficult to get out and enjoy myself in the evening. My husband wasn't affected as badly as I was but dutifully stayed with me. Both nights, I spent the night curled up in bed because I was just too seasick too move. I threw up twice that night because I was so sick. We went up to the Lido deck the next day and saw that the ship was rocking so severely that most of the water had sloshed out of the pools. They had to refill the pools when we finally docked in Turks & Caicos. The worst we experienced on other ships when they rocked was difficulty walking in a straight line so this experience was very annoying to say the least. It bothered me so much that when we got home, I did some research about the Crown Princess and found that stability on the water has been a problem for this ship since her maiden voyage.

Second, the ship has no real walking deck. There is a track on the Sports Deck but you have to walk around it like ten times to get in a mile. We took the tour of the ship on the first day and the assistant cruise director suggested using the Promenade deck for walking instead. I tried that on the day we docked in Princess Cays. I realized that the deck is not a complete revolution around the ship. You run into some stairs at one end and have to go up and down the other side to get to the other side of the Promenade deck. I don't necessarily have a problem with this but two things interrupted the flow of my walk. First, they cordoned off half the deck for tender operations to shore in Princess Cays so that was half the deck that I could not get to. Second, with the amount of elderly people on this ship, I was constantly running into them trying to make it up or down the stairs. They move slowly so I had to spend quite a few minutes waiting for them to get out of the way. I finally gave up and went to the gym to work out on the elliptical.

Perhaps, my biggest problem with this ship is their smoking policy which we were not aware of when we booked the cruise. Obviously, we are non-smokers. As most passengers tend to do, one of the first things we do when we get to the cabin is check out our balcony. As soon as I opened the balcony door, I was hit by cigarette smoke. The cabin directly to our left was occupied by smokers who were on their balcony enjoying the first of many cigarettes during the cruise. We found out later in the day that the cabin directly to our right was also occupied by smokers. The end result is there was always someone smoking on their balcony and we weren't able to enjoy our balcony like we have on previous cruises. On the two port days when we did not really leave the ship, we were able to enjoy our balcony for most of the day because the smokers were gone, thank goodness. Other days, we'd either just open the curtains and look at the view from inside the cabin or stick our noses out to see if the air was clear before we went out there. We could also smell smoke as we walked down the hallways as well. I can understand allowing smoking in designated areas like the lounges and upper decks but why the cabin areas? Non-smokers should not have to suffer through this. We cannot avoid our cabins. We can avoid the lounges and upper decks.

Activities

For people in our age group (mid 30s) and younger, the Crown Princess has few activities of interest. My husband and I dubbed this the movie cruise because we spent a lot of our time either watching the afternoon movie in the Theater or watching MUTS. They had some really good selections and we got a chance to catch up on movies we've been wanting to see. We noticed the large number of elderly people on the ship and this appears to be the Crown Princess' core clientele because the daily activities reflected it. One of the activities was for grandparents to get together and compare pictures of their grandchildren. They even managed to make karaoke boring. On a ship where about 80% of the people are in the same age group, they all tended to like the same kind of music. So, it felt like everyone was singing the same song over and over again. We attended a few trivia events and they did make some attempts to appeal to the youngest people on the ship by offering activities using the Nintendo Wii. We took in a few shows and they were actually quite good. They seemed to only have one band that played everywhere on the ship. We'd see them on the top deck and they'd play later at night in the lounges. We would have liked more variety in this area. They also had a string quartet that played in the atrium at various hours. We went to see a comedy magic show on the first night and the performer really sucked. He has not mastered the art of timing and dragged out his tricks and jokes way too long.

Food

The food on the Crown Princess was a disappointment overall. We enjoyed the breakfast buffet every morning and enjoyed the lunch and dinner buffets for the first two days or so. After that, they started to go downhill. My husband and I are not picky eaters but we felt like that on this cruise. We like our food simple, hot, and hearty. There was very little of this to be found on the Crown Princess. There was lots of seafood and cold salads. Even in the dining room, beef was very hard to come by on this ship. We perused the dining room menu every day to see if anything sound appetizing. Most of the time, the food selections sounded weird and we opted for the buffet. On Italian night in the dining room, almost all the selections were pasta dishes with no meat other than the selections they serve every night. On other nights, it was mostly chicken and seafood on the menu. The buffet wasn't much better. The seafood theme was repeated throughout most of the cruise, with the crab and lobster legs appearing on the buffet at least 3 times that week. There was a German theme one night on the buffet and it was really just a selection of sausages, cold deli meats and weird cold salads (mackerel & potato salad anyone?). We've been to Germany and ate quite well while we were there. This is not all they eat over there. I got to the end of the line and the only thing on my plate was watermelon. I spotted some deviled eggs and excitedly put some on my plate. BIG MISTAKE. They were the nastiest things I have ever eaten. Very rarely do I spit food out once it's in my mouth but I just couldn't get that nasty thing down. We started eating exclusively from the grill for lunch and dinner around the 3rd day of the cruise. The grill food was good overall. The pizza was OK. The sauce was too salty for my taste, the crust too thin, and they only offered 3 kinds. The room service menu is very limited...mostly salads and sandwiches. We ordered room service a few times and overall the food was good. Few of the items we ordered arrived the way they're described on the menu. The menu stated the veggie sandwich is served on whole grain bread. Both times I ordered it, it was made with white bread. The grilled ham and cheese sandwich was delivered encased in a coating of egg and fried up like French toast. This was not mentioned on the menu and would have been nice to know before I ordered it. The dining room actually had pork on the menu on the last night and we were tired of burgers, hot dogs and pizza, so we chose to eat in the dining room. The pork dish I ordered was good and my husband liked his steak. We chose anytime dining and had pleasant table mates. The waiter was excellent. But this was not enough to make up for the lack of variety and appetizing food in other areas.

Service


This is where the ship shined. Everyone we encountered on the ship was friendly and helpful. We were lucky enough to get the best steward we've ever had on a cruise. Jeffrey was attentive, genuinely friendly, and we could tell he takes great pride in doing a good job. He was absolutely wonderful. Other than a few nights of wanting to strangle the captain because of the rough ride, we really enjoyed the staff.

Ports

We prefer to explore the places we visit and there is nothing to see in Princess Cays other than the beach so we stayed on the ship. In St. Maarten, we booked the Best of St. Maarten Beach tour through the cruise line. We enjoyed a tour of the island with a few stops along the way. The tour included about 2 hours at Orient Beach where we enjoyed lounging in the sun. The bus dropped us off near the cruise ship to do a little shopping and we walked back to the ship when we were done. St. Maarten was our favorite stop of the cruise. We didn't book any excursions for St. Thomas because I grew up there. I know the island inside out. From our balcony, I was able to enjoy watching the ship dock in Crown Bay. Apparently, the smokers on either side of us decided to sleep in that morning. It was a truly beautiful sight. For some reason, St. Thomas is the only port where we had to show our passport. I'm really not sure why. It is owned by the US, after all. There is a small shopping area right at the pier but, other than the iguanas sunning on the rocks, nothing really interesting. Since we were the only cruise ship in port that day, we were pleasantly surprised to find most of the stores open. We spent most of the day walking around and doing a little shopping. We left St. Thomas and finally arrived in Turks & Caicos after the ride from hell. We didn't book an excursion here either mainly because of the hurricane that had recently hit. We were slightly amused to see the ship offering a hurricane tour to view the devastation…very tacky. After the ship docked and my stomach settled a little, we got off the ship and walked around the cruise terminal area. There's not much going on here other than Margaritaville. We bought a few souvenirs and some overpriced candy and headed back to the ship.

We have never been on a cruise where we couldn't wait to get home. I was so happy to see Fort Lauderdale and just get my feet on solid ground again. I doubt we will ever book a cruise on Princess again. We booked this cruise because we wanted to try other cruise lines and still plan to try Royal Caribbean and Celebrity. It's going to be a while before we do that though. Right now, It's back to Carnival for us so we can fall in love with cruising again.

Friday, April 03, 2009

28 week belly pic.

We finally got a new camera! For some reason, I can't look at straight ahead and take a picture of myself. Despite my best efforts, I always end up looking at the camera.



I'm actually about 30 weeks now. This pic was taken about two weeks ago.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Soul Searching...

Things are plugging along. I am almost into my third trimester. I am so grateful to my boy and God for making this pregnancy relatively easy. I've been trying to think of the reasons why I was so resistant to the idea of being a mother up until a few years ago. I know the major reason is that I was raised in a very dysfunctional and abusive family and I was afraid that I would create a similar environment for my child. I'm still afraid of that but I just remind myself that I am not my mom or my grandparents. I know better than to hurt my child the way my siblings and I were hurt.

The second reason is that a baby is a huge responsibility. I have four siblings and I have always been the responsible one. When my sister was busy rebelling as a teenager, I was going to school, making good grades, and working part time. When my brother started getting into trouble in the 3rd grade, I was busy helping my Mom take care of my two youngest brothers. My mother and I have always had a relationship where I take care of her, not the other way around. The thought of someone being completely dependent on me is scary. I want someone to take care of me for a change but it seems like I'll have to give up on that wish. Other than my husband, I seem to meet people who are not self sufficient. I don't like that quality in people so I tend to avoid people like that. Of course, if that's all you're meeting, then that makes for a rather lonely existence. I guess I can remedy this fear by making sure I raise my boy to be self sufficient. The only person you can truly depend on in this world is yourself.

The third reason I did not want to have a baby was pure vanity. I know how babies change your body. I watched my mother and sister have babies and it was not pretty. I have seen a lot of physical changes since I've been pregnant. My skin has gotten splotchier. My psoriasis has flared up more often. My breasts looked like I had implants for the first 4 months or so. Now they're pointing downward toward my stomach like two missiles. I've gained more weight than I'd like. My heart races for no apparent reason. I can't tell I have to pee until I stand up. I'm thirsty all the time. My gums suddenly started to bleed and swell at the drop of a hat which I guess is a good thing because it forced me to be more vigilant with my teeth. I've started getting numbness in my right hand and forearm. I'm sure there's more that I'm forgetting.

Everyone tells me that my belly is huge for only being 6 months pregnant. My belly is probably the only thing about this pregnancy that I don't mind. It's the only change that really makes sense. Surprisingly, I like my belly and I just smile when people say that because I've always known that my belly would be bigger than most. All of the women in my family are this way. Our bellys get really big when we're pregnant. The rest of my symptoms, I really don't understand. I understand the reason why the breasts swell but it would make more sense if they started swelling around the baby's due date. Mine started swelling the minute I missed my period. My husband can't even touch my nipples because they're so sensitive.

So despite all of these symptoms that I dreaded, I realized that they're not so bad and they certainly won't kill me. I don't know how my body will fare once I'm done having the baby and breastfeeding but I do know that this is one experience that I won't regret.

Monday, March 02, 2009

The good, the bad, the ugly

The ugly: Well, I guess I can add one more thing to February's list of crazy events. I think I have bacterial vaginosis. The symptoms started a few days after my fibroid incident. I'll wait until my next appointment to confirm but I'm pretty sure that's what it is. I've never had this before. I just cannot wait for my little one to get here so my body can get back to normal.

The bad:Oh, make that two more things. It appears that the person that owns the house next door has rented it to a drug dealer. It's either that or they are some popular folks. It's like Grand Central station and they've only been there a little over a week. Well, they moved next to the wrong person. I plan to observe them for the next month or so and take copious notes so that I can have some evidence when I notify the police. I'm also going to write a letter to the landlord letting her know what kind of people she has rented to. I didn't think it was possible but this neighborhood is just getting worse than it was when we moved here. I hosted bunco again last week and I was so scared that one of the girls would go to her car and find the window busted out or her car gone. No incidents this time, thank God.

The good: Other than the possible BV infection, everything is going well with the baby. He pokes me so hard sometimes, it's hard to believe he weighs barely over a pound. My husband and I may have settled on a name as well. We'll just have to see if anything else strikes our fancy between now and when he is born. The insurance company is taking forever to process our property loss claim so I'm just going to go out and buy a new camera. I am overdue for another pic of my belly. I was trying to wait but my belly seems to be growing every day. I want to have plenty of pictures of our boy starting from before he gets here.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

This has been quite a month.

February is turning into quite an eventful month. First, our stuff is stolen, then I spend most of last night in the ER. I started having pain in my pelvic area on Sunday. I went to work yesterday and had a really rough day. I couldn't sit for long periods because that seemed to aggravate the pain. I laid down to go to sleep around 12:30 last night and the pain moved from my pelvis to my abdomen and eventually became unbearable. I tried to be a trooper and stick it out but no position was comfortable and I kept having to get up to pee every 2 seconds which made the pain even worse. I asked my husband to take me to the ER at around 2:00 this morning. The ER at the Medical Center turned out to be a complete waste of time. I'm convinced that unless you show up there in labor, they don't know what to do with you if you're pregnant.

The ER nurse was absolutely useless and kept throwing out all these possible things it could be instead of actually trying to diagnose the problem. She checked my cervix to see if I was dilated which ticked me off because I told her when I came in that I was not having contractions. I also told her that whatever was going on did not seem to affect the baby because he was moving around like he normally does. She had already checked his heartbeat so why she decided to check my cervix I really don't know. She then hooked this monitor to my stomach which seemed to make my uterus start contracting. With every contraction, the pain in my abdomen got worse. My uterus continued to contract for a little while after I left the ER. She said all she could figure out from the monitor was that my uterus was "irrated" but she didn't know the cause. Then she wanted to hook me up to an IV because she thought I could be dehydrated. I refused because I know that was not the problem. I walked in there with a liter bottle of water for pete's sake! She then offered me painkillers and sleeping meds which I also refused. I told her the only reason I came to the ER was to find out why my stomach hurt so badly. Until then, I was not interested in any treatment or meds.

She called the OB on call who said I should come into the office when they open for an ultrasound. So, I went through all of that so I could come home and try to sleep propped up on the headboard because lying down and sitting upright was too painful. I went to get the ultrasound this morning and pointed the technician to the area where the pain originates and she scanned it and said I had a fibroid. It hurts like hell and my OB said that they really can't treat it while I'm pregnant. She told me to go home, rest and take some tylenol. It could go away, it could get bigger. They don't know. All they can do is monitor it for right now. OK, why am I paying you again?

Monday, February 09, 2009

I live in a cesspool.

It's no secret that I hate Columbus. We've lived here for almost three years and I've really tried to give it a chance but the proverbial straw has broken the camel's back. We went up to Atlanta to help my mother-in-law move. We spent the night and came back home on Sunday 2/1 to find the back door of our home kicked in and some of my fitness DVDs scattered on the side of the house. Someone, or two, or three burglarized our home and took just about everything of value in the house. In all my years on his earth, I have never had anything like this happen. The police showed up to take the report but it's clear that they have a very reactive policy regarding burglaries. If the persons who did this happen to fall in their laps, then we'll know who broke into our home. With no one actively looking for the people who do these things or trying to prevent them from happening in the first place, what are the chances that this "epidemic" as the officer called it, will get better?

I could go on and on about the police's lack of interest in being proactive but there's really no point. If they ever solve this, our stuff will be long gone. I just want the satisfaction of knowing that these people will be caught. I doubt that will ever happen.

Friday, January 30, 2009

15 Week Baby Bump

Note to self: Don't take pictures first thing in the morning.



P.S. I do have a neck. My hair is just in my shirt.

It's a Boy

I had my 20 week ultrasound on Monday and it's official...we're having a boy! I've always thought my first child would be a girl but somehow I'm still thrilled that I'll have a son. When the ultrasound tech turned the machine on, he was facing us. It was almost like he was waiting for us. She pointed out some of his features to us and it looks like he'll look just like daddy. I'm feeling so much better. The constant tiredness has given way to occasional tiredness and I have a bit more energy. He is moving like a champ several times a day so I have constant reassurance that he's OK. I actual feel good about myself even though my stomach is really getting out here. When I came to work on Thursday, one of my co-workers said incredulouly "it looks like it's grown since yesterday". I'm proud of myself because I am handling this so much better than I thought I would. Two meltdowns in five months isn't bad. I'm sure I'll have at least one or two more before the baby gets here. I'll have to post an 18 week (my count because that's how old my baby is) belly pic since it's probably time to take another one. I don't have any baby/childhood pictures. I honestly don't think my mom/family ever took any. My baby will have plenty though.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

It's Official...I'm Crazy

I'm sitting here comforting myself with a big piece of chocolate cake. I normally don't eat stuff like this but I'm having a pretty bad week at work and need to unload but first, my bright spot. My little man has been moving liking a mad man this week. He typically moves when I sit or lay down. Every once in a while he'll move when I'm standing still or walking. I don't know what it is about sitting or laying down but he doesn't seem to like it. I read that they move more when you're sitting down because walking around rocks them to sleep. If that's the case, he hasn't been getting much sleep this week. Sorry buddy, I have a desk job. I have to sit down. It's been too cold lately for me to walk around outside but I will once it warms up a little. I'm sure he'd enjoy that. I'm feeling much better since the last time I wrote. The tiredness has gone from every day to a few days a week. I do still have the heart beat issue but other than mentioning it to my doctor at my next appointment, there's not much I can do.

OK, on to work. I guess this has more to do with me than work. I seem to be repeating this cycle where I end up in working in these places for a while and then really start to hate it. I realized a long time ago that I can do just about any job but if the people grate on my nerves, the job becomes unbearable. I don't think I've gotten to it being unbearable and my co-workers are generally nice people. Everyone has their quirks so I try not to let little things annoy me. Without going into all the details of why I'm having such a bad week, I was driving to the grocery store after work and really started to ponder when these feelings of discontent started. They started when I got to Ft. Campbell way back in 1994. I had no problems making friends in high school and in Korea. I get to Ft. Campbell and all that changes. I befriended 2 people in 10 months, only 1 of which I would consider an actual friend. The other one was a bit of a nut that I talked to out of necessity.

Unfortunately, this pattern has continued. Needless to say Ft. Campbell was a nightmare. It completely changed my opinion of the Army and was the primary reason that I did not re-enlist. Re-enlisting would have meant another 2 years there. No thanks! Ever since then, I have attracted people who I just cannot seem to relate to. I'm sure on some level some of it is me. I'm convinced though that it's not all me. I realized something about myself today. I have a hard time with ineffective people, especially those in leadership roles or those who just can't seem to manage their lives. I have a hard time with that because I believe that most situations require someone to take charge and if I see no one else doing it, then I do it. It is not my true nature and it is not a role that I am comfortable with. It was something that I learned to do in the military because it was necessary.

So, the person I'm having a problem with this week shares this trait with me. Taking charge does not appear to be her natural tendency and she rarely tries to appear as though she is in charge. She doesn't have the hard edge that I built up over the years which makes it all the more frustrating for me. I guess I don't like showing weakness and people that do show weakness frustrate me. Asking me for direction when you're the boss, not appearing to be on top of things, and just being generally clueless are things that I experience almost daily. Whether I feel like it or believe it, the image that I project is that I am strong and capable. When I have worked in autonomous jobs, this quality has shined through. Now that I am being forced to work in teams, the perceived weaknesses I see in others somehow makes me feel bad. Since I internalize everything, these feelings are starting to wear on me now. I'm not one to gloat and talk about others behind their back. I also don't think it's my place to point it out to them. So all these negative feelings stay inside.

My confidence has never been so low because I see in these people what I would be if I didn't work so hard at not appearing to be that way. I endured it for 5 years at my old job. My old boss just could not give clear direction. It was the most maddening experience of my life. I don't know if I can go through it again. I certainly can't change them but I don't know how to change my thinking about this so that I don't feel so bad. It's as though I look at them and think that all it takes is one slip-up and I'll be just like them. So, I avoid them. I once worked with a girl who didn't even have $10 in her bank account at the end of the month. Another one was consistently 1 to 2 hours late for every appointment. I just can't be around that. If I say something, I feel bad. If I don't say anything, I still feel bad. It's a no-win situation.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Overwhelmed!

I'm sitting here crying my eyes out because all these symptoms are so overwhelming. The rapid pounding heartbeat is the freakiest one of all and that's been happening every night lately. Any woman who says she loves being pregnant is either lying or crazy. Maybe both.

Friday, January 02, 2009

New Year

Well, it is officially 2009. I spent most of New Year's day doing laundry, cooking, and making a run to the grocery store. I've heard that what you're doing on New Year's day is what you'll be doing for the rest of the year. I don't know how true that is but, if it is true, it won't be anything out of the ordinary. I tried to reflect back on 2008 and pick out some bright spots for this past year. Honestly, the only thing I could think of was our baby- as apprehensive as I am at the idea of being a mom, I am still happy to be pregnant- and the fact that my husband and I are still together- we were at a dismal point in our marriage for most of 2007. It's been a long hard road to get our marriage back to the way it was and we're still not there IMO but we're definitely doing better.

I don't really have any lofty goals for 2009. I'm happy to be employed and I really couldn't ask for anything else. I want to continue exercising throughout my pregnancy, not gain too much weight during this pregnancy, and just give birth to a healthy baby with as little medical intervention as possible. My baby's movements have gone from feeling like frantic flutters to definite nudges. Light nudges, but still nudges. I got two such nudges today and I knew instantly that it was my little man moving around. It felt really good.