Archive for the ‘Health’ Category
Life has been insane! We’re down to about three more months before baby gets here and we’ve been scrambling to line things up in preparation, including obtaining a larger vehicle, cleaning out our guest bedroom so it can house the new nursery and trying to figure out what I need to replace that was either lost or destroyed after Sarah was born. Throw in a toddler who loves to get out of her new bed in the late hours of the night, a busy work and photography schedule, and work conference out of town tomorrow and you get one tired pregnant lady. But it’s all very exciting! Hopefully I’ll be able to tell you the whole story about the new vehicle when I get back next week if all the stars align like they’re supposed to next weekend.
In the mean time, I give you a list of things that make my very full heart sing.
1. Chobani Flips Key Lime Crumble. Let’s be honest here. If I could, I would eat real key lime pie every single day. There is something about that tart, sweet flavor that makes me swoon. However, I’m scared of gaining too much weight and I happened to find this little lovely. At 180 calories and made of Greek yogurt, I have no problem chowing down on these nearly every day. Plus, it has white chocolate chips and graham cracker crumbs that you mix in and it tastes nearly as good as real key lime pie. They sell these at my local grocery store for about $1.49 a piece.
2. Apples and peanut butter. More specifically Fuji apples and Peter Pan creamy peanut butter. I seriously can not get enough of this combination, though again for the sake of weight gain I try to keep the peanut butter consumption down to every other day, but have no problem eating those apples all day every day.
3. Audible.com. I’ve been a fan of Audible for a long time. I’ve only ever started listening to two of the 50 or so audiobooks from them that I own that I didn’t care for. My husband got me a yearlong subscription to them for Christmas and I put it to good use. I like audiobooks on a good day, but now that I’m exhausted at the end of the day, it’s so much easier to just zone out to Solitaire Blitz, or close my eyes and listen. They also help keep me awake when I’m editing photos and would really rather crawl under my desk and sleep. Subscriptions range from $14.95 a month and go up from there.
4. Jersey Knit Skirts. While pushing through the Louisiana summer heat in my largest months of pregnancy doesn’t rate at the top of my favorite activities, I am so happy that I can still wear all my non-maternity jersey skirts. They stretch, go over or under the belly and, best of all, keep my wardrobe from being limited to the same three outfits. The one shown here is actually a maternity skirt, but really, who is going to be the wiser when I keep wearing it after baby comes? It’s stretchy and pops right back into shape. Old Navy, $29.94.
5. Humphrey yogurts from Counter Culture. If you’re not from north Louisiana, you may be scratching your head at this one. We have a local eatery called Counter Culture and they dish up these amazing desserts (or lunch, I mean, it’s filled with fruit after all). Traditionally the Humphrey is made with their signature tangy frozen yogurt, granola, honey, strawberries, grapes and bananas. We sub out blueberries for the grapes most of the time. And they are amazing! If you’re ever in the area, get one.
p.s. No one pays me to do this, I just thought I’d share.
We interrupt this vacation story to talk about exercise (I know, boo, HISS back to the New Orleans pecan pie on the griddle).
You see, back before I got pregnant I was working out a lot, spinning and lifting. I was really proud of myself and got that great endorphin surge on a regular basis. I got to know my workout instructor and appreciated the lunchtime ritual of going and working hard.
After I got pregnant, the heart stuff started and I was basically told to keep it just to walking. I was bummed, but knew I could keep up the walking at the very least. But then I didn’t. I couldn’t find the time to do it. After work all I want to do is come home, crawl on to the couch and try to muster up the energy to play with my daughter. Lunchtime became out of the question for time reasons and I quickly caved to just skipping it all together.
As I gave it up, I also started feeling gross and down – my body trying to adjust to life without that boost. And then mentally I kept blaming my heart and the baby. I needed to take it easy after all, right?
Well then I went on vacation and hiked it all over the city of New Orleans, and then up and down the beach in the sand, oftentimes while carrying my 30-pound toddler. And you know what? For the most part, my heart was just fine and I actually felt a lot better.
So I decided to have a pep talk with myself and figure out a solution.
While talking to a coworker about finding time to read, I started telling her about how I used to get up in the mornings and walk the dogs while listening to audio books. I loved the cooler mornings, the happy dogs, and the time to myself. And then it clicked – of course I should go back to morning walks, why hadn’t I thought of that sooner?
I still had no planned start date for this, however. But this morning, I woke up early on my own. My brain fought me, “You don’t have to start THIS morning.” But I was up and figured no time like the present.
When I went to the back door with my walking shoes on and my dogs went ballistic. They were SO HAPPY because they know what those shoes mean. I plugged in my audio book, and we took off. We went just shy of two miles, but it was nice, felt so good and the morning alone time was decadent.
Plus, my postpartum goal is to be able to walk my favorite local 5k – the Pumpkin Run the Saturday before Halloween. I figure I need to at least give my legs some time to prepare!
So here goes nothing. Let’s hope I can stick to this and continue to tell my brain to shut up in the mornings.
Pardon my long absence. I rushed over the weekend for a deadline so I could leave town and head to Baton Rouge, then New Orleans, then Ft. Walton Beach, FL first for work, then for a much needed vacation with my family.
I have great pictures and stories about that to share with you. But before I do that, I have to tell you about what happened with the cat while I was away.
We have the great fortune of having animal loving family members who live in town and volunteer to watch our animals while we’re away. My sister takes on both dogs, and my sister-in-law, Stephanie, both cats.
Friday night, when we were in New Orleans, Stephanie texted us to let us know Sam Cat had some sort of sore on the back of one of his legs. He’s a long haired cat, so it’s difficult to see something like that. It means a lot that she took the time to pet him and saw it. She texted us a photo and it looked BAD.
Fortunately for us, our vet has limited Saturday morning hours. I called them Saturday morning and they wanted to see him. So I called Stephanie at 8:10 a.m. I should mention she is single, doesn’t have kids and enjoys sleeping in on Saturday mornings. I told her they wanted to see him right away. And without any complaint she got up, managed to find our cat carrier in one of the three locations I said it might possibly be in, rounded up the cat, managed to get him in the carrier and to the vet.
And wouldn’t you know it? The dang cat needed stitches for about an inch long gash. Turns out he somehow ripped the skin behind his front left arm. And this is a cat we’re talking about here, so stitches also meant sedation. And, you know, with him having an open wound for an undetermined length of time, that also meant a strong antibiotic shot. We’re also fortunate that we know our vet’s office well and they were willing to bill us for it, because there is no way I could have asked Stephanie to front us that cost.
Sam Cat is fine now. He’s stitched up and back at home – just pissed we won’t let him outside until he’s completely healed. Stephanie checked on him while we were gone and kept us informed on his health so we were able to relax and enjoy our trip.
Freaking cat. But really, I’m glad he’s ok.
My friend Katie, who blogs over at Catholic Wife, asked me to do a guest post for her today while she’s recovering from giving birth to her third son (boy, does she have her hands full)!
The post talks about more of the overdoing it with the heart stuff, but in the context of coping with it at Mass.
If you’re interested, you can read it here: “Losing the Meaning”
I like to stay busy. Don’t get me wrong, I also enjoy a few hours with a good book, but for the most part, “go go go” is a regular part of my life. I work full time, manage a toddler the best I can, make a stab at keeping some sort of order to my house (at least we’re all wearing clean clothes anyway) and then work freelance again in the evenings. On weekends I use my “free time” to go to the grocery store, visit with friends and family, do some photography and attempt to entertain the almost-two-year-old. Of course my husband is there to help, but it’s in my nature to charge full speed ahead and I like to do it. (This, of course, makes him nuts and there have been many occasions when I’m trying to recover from being sick that he makes me stay home).
The problem is this goofy heart pregnancy thing keeps rearing its ugly head. Any time I go full speed ahead for longer than two hours, it knocks on my rib cage, or rather skips a knock, takes my breath away and tells me to sit down already.
This weekend was BUSY. Saturday morning we went to visit dad at his store and let Sarah look at the fish and his bird.
After that I enforced her “quiet time” while I went to the grocery store. Then we walked over to our neighbors for a two-hour long two-year-old twin birthday extravaganza (that was amazing, busy and fun), and then went to visit my friend Susan.
Needless to say, my heart was displeased. Several times throughout the day it took me down, and then that night it was annoying and insistent. I woke up the next morning feeling like I had the flu. Body aches, nausea and a headache had me in the fetal position.
That morning Mark gave me a nice, firm talk on overdoing it. I went back to bed, missed Palm Sunday Mass and tried to chill. We did end up driving to see my grandfather after lunch, who is having a very tough time recovering from surgery, but I let Mark drive and sat in the room with my grandfather. No funny business. And amazingly, no whacky heart stuff.
Even the motions of Mass have taken me down. No more standing, kneeling and sitting in quick succession. I have to plant it in the pew and try not to let the Catholic guilt set in.
In all seriousness, this has been tough on my normally very busy body. While I still want to go go go all the time, I’m having to sit and relinquish the responsibilities to other people (namely my husband). But, I give myself pep talks. I don’t want to be on bed rest, and Sarah certainly doesn’t need to be carried all the time anymore.
I’m trying, but it’s tough. Who would have ever thought trying to be lazy would be so hard?
So I have had a few weird complications from this pregnancy. Within a week of taking a positive pregnancy test my heart started acting weird, skipping beats and racing for no reason. When those things happen I can’t catch my breath and I sometimes get tunnel vision.
After googling it, I learned that heart palpitations aren’t uncommon for pregnant women, so I relaxed some and called my OB. They, however, were not nearly as relaxed about it. Apparently for these heart palpitations to be happening every day that early in pregnancy is a little weird, so they called the cardiologist and booked an appointment for me. They got me in with the cardiologist in three days – the last time I booked a cardio appointment for myself they couldn’t see me for over a month. So everyone is taking this very seriously.
So I’ve now seen the cardiologist and the OB and have follow up appointments with both next week. A bevy of tests showed that my heart is having a small number of irregular heartbeats throughout the day, and about an hour total worth of just weird activity in a 24-hour period.
What does this mean? Well the cardiologist (who called me and talked to me himself) seems to think that dramatic increase in blood flow that comes with pregnancy combined with a hormone surge is overwhelming my heart a little bit. And when I do something like lock my knees or go from standing to laying down quickly, my heart gets pissed off and goes out of rhythm temporarily.
What’s the answer to all this? For now we sit, wait and monitor. I may have to eventually get on medication to help with my heart rhythm, but beta blockers have been very distantly connected to infant growth, so if things get bad enough for medication, I’ll have to have the baby measured all the time. Not that I wouldn’t enjoy seeing little bit on the ultrasound, but that’s a little scary. Still, my OB reassures me that if I have to get on the medicine that it will be just fine.
Oh and here is the real kicker. In order to try to avoid medication I have to stay away from ALL forms of caffeine. And yes, that means CHOCOLATE too. That’s right, this pregnant lady gets no chocolate for nine months or more. They also want me to really limit my intake of sweets. So I guess all those late night trips to the DQ for an Oreo blizzard that I did with Sarah are no more this time. Hey, at least maybe this will help me keep my weight gain down!
My sweet friend Dana brought me some great chocolate from Austin a little over a week ago and I have it safely stored in my freezer. I even have to put my samoas in the freezer!
My mom has had this problem with her heart her whole life and it was exacerbated by pregnancy, so at least I’m in good company.
And I bet you just thought I was going to complain about being pukey all the time huh? Well there is that too, but thanks to a constant diet of pineapple, grilled cheese sandwiches and some candied ginger Cassie sent me from Trader Joe’s, I’m managing ok on that front. Now, someone please just tell Sarah to sit down for 10 minutes so mama can rest!
First let me start off by thanking everyone for their kind words, both publicly and privately, on my last post. It’s amazing to see such a wonderful network of people come together and give words of encouragement.
I also wanted to add that when people would say things to me, I know now and I knew then that they were not meant to hurt or make me feel worse in any way, but instead meant to buoy my spirits, and I truly appreciated their love and concern. The problem lied in the fact that I took those well-meant comments and used them as a weapon to make myself feel worse. I was just feeling that low.
When I finally met with my OB and shared my guilty feelings with her, she said, “WHY? You have one kid, you have one to replace you, you need one to replace your husband. And I only have one kid, so you can have one more to replace my husband.” It made me laugh so much that I was finally able to let go of a lot of that weird guilt.
Where was I? Oh yea, temperature charting. On top of all that crazy charting, I dug into the world of Natural Family Planning and learned A LOT. I would rattle off all kinds of fascinating information about my body to my husband and he would graciously bear it all – though I know he was secretly wondering about my sanity. I was charting and managing data in a way that would make my friend Bluz proud.
Near the end of January, I knew I was coming up on the dreaded day I would most likely find out that we were still not pregnant. I prepared myself as best I could for the result I had received the past 13 months and waited. But I became impatient after things were delayed by a couple of days, so I bought two pregnancy tests.
I took the first test and waited.
A very faint positive line came up.
I fell to my knees in tears and thanksgiving and cried on the bathroom floor for 10 minutes. I finally pulled myself together and went into the bedroom. Through lots of tears I told Mark I was pregnant. He didn’t say much and when I prodded him for a response, he said, “Well you seem upset about it.” I tried to explain to him that I was overwhelmed with JOY, not sadness, as over a year’s worth of fear, anxiety, guilt and hurt came tumbling down on me and then off again. Then he said, “What a relief!”
He wasn’t convinced that the line was dark enough though, so I took another one and there was no denying the positive result.
Besides digging into BBT and NFP, nothing had really changed over the course of 13 months. I’m not sure what was different that time around – maybe it was my ability to finally “be still,” or the fact that I was coming to terms with having an only child. I don’t know, but I was so thankful.
When I was pregnant with Sarah, I struggled with keeping my hormone levels up, so I went in for blood work as soon as the positive result came up. Just like with Sarah, my levels are a little low, so I have to be on a supplement, but other than that, my HCG – the baby building hormone – is right on target and baby is growing just like it’s supposed to.
We kept the news to ourselves until we knew all was well, and then we shared it with our families by putting Sarah in a Big Sister t-shirt and letting her march into the room with all our family members there. My sister Shannon was the first to notice, but it was a domino effect, and quickly all the members of our family were screaming and crying because they were so excited and know how much we’ve struggled to conceive another baby.
We are so very happy that baby number two is on its way and due in September!
But wait, you should probably know this isn’t all to the story either. I’ll ease your mind by telling you that baby is ok and currently just shy of 10 weeks. We’ve since seen its amazing little heart beat and been reassured that there is just ONE baby in there.
But me? Well my body is having a hard time coping. More on that to come.
In the mean time, please keep me and our family in your thoughts and prayers.
I’ve been a bit stymied in my blogging lately, mostly because there were major life events going on that I couldn’t share. But I’ve come to the point where I’m ready to share them. I’m going to break this up into a few posts, so bear with me.
I wrote this post several months ago. Only a handful of people knew we were dealing with this over the past year, and I wanted it that way. But then I thought writing all this out might help someone else who is struggling with similar issues.
I can’t tell you how many times I almost wrote about this topic for nearly 13 months. It’s something that’s hard to talk about and something I wasn’t sure my husband wanted me to share publicly. And then all the questions and guilt I carried – it was never the right time.
But now that I’ve seen it through, I think it is.
You see, for 13 months I struggled with being unable to conceive another child.
In my perfectly planned mind, I knew I wanted my children to be two years apart. It took a little while to conceive Sarah, so we started trying for another one when she was 10 months old. Honestly, I didn’t think it would take too long. I’ve heard stories from so many mothers about how they couldn’t believe how easy it was to get pregnant with their second babies.
But the months stretched on and on and no baby.
I can’t tell you how much I cried over those months. I cried because it just wasn’t happening. I cried because I felt like there was this person in our lives who was missing. I cried over the guilt because I had one healthy child and knew so many women who can’t even have that. I ached with jealousy as women I knew got pregnant with their second, third and fourth children, or friends talked about trying for their next one. And when people would ask us when we were going to have another baby, I would take a deep breath, murmur, “I don’t know” and try to push it from my mind.
And through it all, I felt like no one understood this well of sadness I was carrying in my chest. And when I shared what I was feeling, I often got the response, “well at least you have Sarah!” And believe me, I am a million times over thankful for my daughter. She is the constant light in my life that brightens even the grayest of my days. But that response would make me feel so terribly guilty that I just buried all that pain deeper.
The other response I got was, “it will happen when you relax and stop worrying about it.” Not worrying about it was simply impossible. Try telling your brain not to worry about finances or a fight or a looming work deadline. You can tell yourself that, but it’s not going to happen.
And then I started talking to Noel via e-mail. She and I had our babies within the same week of each other, and we were both experiencing secondary infertility. I can’t tell you how many anguished conversations I shared with her, and I never felt judged or hurt, but comforted, especially when discussing what the “next steps” were.
At 11 months of trying with no baby, I set up an appointment with my doctor. When I saw her, she couldn’t believe we were struggling so much. I do have some physical factors that make conceiving more difficult, but nothing that should prevent it completely. We talked about options.
I knew before going in that there were things I was unwilling to do. Personally, IVF was not an option for us, neither was artificial insemination. Mark was against hormone pills even, but he ultimately left that decision up to me. My doctor was against me jumping into Clomid, not because it’s bad, but because I have a history of cysts and that medication could create serious problems for me.
So we did some hormone tests and after talking to the nurse about natural options, I became acquainted with Basal Body Temperature tracking. (For those who don’t know, a woman’s body is different temperatures at different points in the month, and a jump in temperature indicates a fertile time period). We decided I’d track my BBT for two months, then meet back with the doctor to discuss Clomid in more detail and whether or not it was a good option for me.
About that time, Christmas was rolling around and I had a lot to do. My friend Katie wrote a really great post on “Be Still and Know That I am God” and I really took that on as my mantra. Anytime I would start to get wound up, I’d repeat, “Be still. Be still,” and slowly, it started to work and calm my nerves. Over Christmas, I was able to completely enjoy myself, have wine and truly rejoice in both the season and my family. I began my temperature charting shortly after Christmas and marveled at how amazing the female body is as I plotted my points along the graph and became more in tune with my own body. I got caught up in how interesting and amazing it all is.
I tried not to obsess, but to learn, and so I did.
To be continued.
The three members of our family have been passing a nasty cough/cold around for almost two months now, which has lead to me either playing nurse, or laying in bed fighting through my own misery. And while this has lead to an increase of watching Downton Abbey on my iPad and reading in bed, it has kept me away from blogging.
This overwhelming sickness has not, however, inhibited my little girl from growing at a pace that continues to surprise and overwhelm me. In addition to adeptly climbing in and out of her crib (but luckily only during play time), she’s also taken to copying Mark and I, navigating the iPad better than I could ever hope to, and saying all kinds of things. The flashcard app is one of her favorites, allowing her to identify things like zebras, giraffes and sharks.
Here’s a short video before I left for work this morning.
And yes, she would really prefer me to not put anything in her hair ever, but hats of every size and shape are just fine.
So there you have it, we’re surviving and growing and healing. We have friends coming in town this weekend from Austin, and I plan on taking Sarah to her very first Mardi Gras parade on Sunday – the Krewe of Barkus and Meoux complete with ponies dressed as bumble bees and kitties in their own decorated floats. The perfect parade for her first, don’t you think?
Sarah has been sick – bad sick with RSV, complete with coughing, throwing up, the inability to eat or sleep. Needless to say there was no way she could go to daycare. Mark’s schedule has been cram packed with the end of the year coming on, and both grandmothers and all aunties work. So that meant mamma was staying home with baby girl. Honestly, I was glad to be staying home with her. There’s no one quite like mama when you’re feeling bad, and Sarah agreed.
She was bad sick though, so this wasn’t just one day home. It ended up being five days.
I suddenly found myself stuck at home trying to figure out how in the world I was going to fill my days with a toddler without going stir crazy, running into the backyard and screaming. Of course she’s with us on the weekends, but our weekends are always so busy with shopping, visiting, playing outside… none of which can be done with a sick, irritable toddler.
I’m not going to lie, Thursday and Friday were bad. Mostly because she was so awfully sick and there was nothing I could do to fix it. She refused to nap, refused to eat and screamed a lot.
Thursday I resorted to television and help from my mom, and Friday, the worst day of her illness, during which time she ran a 102.5 fever, I don’t really remember what happened. I’m still sort of in a daze.
I do know that when she was “napping” aka screaming in her crib, I was saddled up to my Mac, desperately trying to finish the magazine to meet deadline. It also didn’t help that I had to spend my evenings after she went to sleep doing the same thing.
By Saturday we learned she had caught a secondary infection and we started her on antibiotics. After that, her fever went away and she immediately started feeling happy again. At some point over the weekend, I figured out that we could get rid of the irritating silence in the house and break up the monotony by playing music, I introduced finger paints and successfully helped her overcome a couple of her texture issues.
I even got in on the art, and made some “mistletoes.”
I also managed to bake a lot for Christmas and Sarah, in the mean time, turned a cardboard box into a slide and colored pictures we printed off the Disney Junior website. I also cooked a couple of great dinners (and even managed to get Sarah to eat this one successfully after she refused to eat anything but sweet potatoes for four days). So by the time today rolled around and I finished my brief, but hectic, two hour stint at work this morning, I was ready for stay at home mom time and I really enjoyed it.
Turns out I just needed a mostly well baby, some background music, a little joint play time and a little personal time for each of us.
It probably sounds horrible that I didn’t take staying at home all day with my baby for five days as naturally as a mom should, but we found our rhythm and eventually really enjoyed it. Good thing too because I’m going to have a long time off for Christmas!
Suffice it to say, I have so much respect for moms who do this all the time, especially with more than one child and I now understand why they do so many great craft and cooking projects. Something’s gotta keep mama sane too!
My Cooking Blog!
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