Thursday, November 29, 2012

So, you're pregnant? Well, I think that...

Pregnancy makes people crazy.

There, I said it.

And no, I'm not referring to the pregnant women.  I'm referring to everyone else.

Pregnancy is the one time in a woman's life- in most cases- where people find it completely socially acceptable to comment on her appearance, weight, stature, or other bodily functions.  Many people also feel it appropriate to touch pregnant women without asking first, even if they are a stranger to that woman.

I mean, really.  When would you ever walk up to a middle aged gentleman at the grocery store buying boxed cereal with his wife and rub his belly, telling him how he is "ready to pop any day now!"  

You just wouldn't.  

But for some reason, people find things like this to be completely acceptable to say or do to a pregnant woman.

Let me preface this by saying, I am very obviously 100% thankful that I am carrying this child.  It IS a spectacular, amazing, miraculous process, and I am gosh-darned lucky to be in this situation, I really am.  However, that doesn't mean I lose all value of personal space because I am flowing in the beautiful pregnant goddess river, willing to let everyone rub my tummy like I'm a Buddha.    

Most pregnant women, whether they love pregnancy or not, are dealing with many personal/bodily issues while pregnant.  

I LOVE being pregnant.

But that doesn't mean I'm not walking around in my chest-high compression stockings with sausages for feet and needing to run to the bathroom every five minutes to relieve my bladder.  When I'm uncomfortable, I want people to touch me even less than I do normally.

Thankfully, I've only been touched this pregnancy a handful (no pun intended) of times.  But goodness- some of the comments I've heard!  I figured that many of my readers (since a huge number of you are currently pregnant or have been pregnant recently!) could commiserate, so I'll share them here.

- Are you having twins?  (I respond with a polite but short no)  Are you sure?

- Shouldn't you be having your baby in the hospital today and not working at the hospital today?  (Said to me weekly by a patient, starting around 32 weeks pregnant.)

- You don't even look all that pregnant!  (Great.  Soooo, I just look fat?)

- Wait, you're still breastfeeding your son?  What?  I didn't know that was possible!  (Yep, because as soon as I became pregnant again, my boobs closed down shop.  They recognize that I should only be providing one child with nutrients/hydration/nutrition, you know.)

- You shouldn't be carrying your son.  That's not right to do while pregnant- you could cause strain to your body.  (Okay.  I give on this one.  How about you come live with me and do all diaper changes, baths, lifting my son in and out of his high chair for each meal and snack every day, etc.  If I can't lift him, someone will have to!)

- You know, in my day, women didn't wear such body-hugging clothing.  We were respectably dressed in maternity gowns that we made ourselves at home.  It didn't accent our stomachs.  You should consider making your own maternity gown so your clothing wouldn't fit so snugly.  (This was while at work, where I was wearing scrub pants and a long-sleeved black fitted t-shirt, after my scrub tops would no longer fit.  Super inappropriate, I am.  I'll get right on making my own "gowns" to wear to work.  Yep, I'd fit right in there.)

- You're due when?  (I give my due date)  Really?  (This one always gets me, because you never know if they think you're huge or teeny at that point.  Also, at some point in a pregnancy, when someone asks 'Really?', I'm going to say no and give them a different due date, lol.)

- That's going to be one big baby, for sure!  

- Still pregnant, eh?  (Yes, because I'd be here sporting my belly, working my happy heart away with a newborn at home...)

- How much weight have you gained?  (Um, no.  We're not going there.)

Basically, if you have read ANY article/blog/opinion column on appropriate discussions with pregnant women, you'll hear the same thing.  That there is only ONE appropriate thing to say to a pregnant woman:

You look beautiful/great/amazing!

That's it.  Unless you are a really close friend/family member- and by that I mean said pregnant friend or family member will confide in you about personal stories like bowel habits or deodorant routines- it probably isn't appropriate to say anything further unless your pregnant friend offers more information to you. 
And, holy goodness, please don't rub their belly.

What are some comments you heard during your pregnancy that took you off guard? 
 Share them in the comments below!

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Personal care products I'm using during pregnancy

I've had several requests recently to highlight the products I'm using on my body while pregnant, so I'm going to take a few minutes today to run down the list!

As many of you know, I keep a pretty close eye on what chemicals I'm putting on my body.  This pertains to my make-up, hair products, lotions, deodorant, etc.  While I recognize that moderation with iffy products is key, during pregnancy and breastfeeding I become a little more fanatical about my products, as I'm passing any chemicals straight along to my babies.  

Here are my current products!


As I mentioned in my recent product review, I've been using J.R. Liggett's Bar Shampoo, and love it.  I've also intermittently been using the California Baby Hair De-tangler on days where I haven't brushed well enough before I wash to comb through my tangles.  

That's it on hair.  Pretty simple, right?


I've still been using Crystal deodorant on the whole, although I will say there have been a few days I've been a little stinky or more sweaty than normal.  On those days, I've opted for a small bit of Tom's deodorant or deodorant/antiperspirant as well, but that has only been a few times.


I've mainly stuck to using the J.R. Liggett's lemon lime oil body lotion or my long-time go-to of pure, organic coconut oil as a lotion.  As mentioned in my review post, I apply at night after a shower so that when I wake in the morning I have that nicely moisturized but not oily feel to my skin.


I think the biggest of offenders can be makeup when you are considering introducing toxins into your body, so- while not always possible- I try to be as careful as I can with my make-up.  I'm currently still using most of my make-up products from The All Natural Face.  I use their Midas Vegan Concealer, Porcelain Rose Vegan Foundation, Vegan Blush Beautiful Mineral Blush in Cocoa, Wedding Day Vegan Mineral Glow, Clear Vegan Lip Gloss, and an assortment of their Vegan Shimmer and Matte Eyeshadows.  

Yes, those are all vegan products, but vegan doesn't mean free of chemicals.  However, The All Natural Face uses as many organic ingredients as possible and tries to use the most pure and natural ingredients in all of their make-up options.  

I've tried The ANF's mascara and eye liner, however was not a huge fan.  I'm currently using Physician's Formula Organics Mascara and- for lack of a better option- my old Smashbox cosmetics vegan eye liner.  If anyone has better natural eye liner or mascara options, I'm completely open to trying new options!  I just haven't found anything safer that WORKS for me yet.


Because- yes- you can put a lot of chemicals straight into your mouth with your toothpaste as well!  I've been using Tom's of Maine children's toothpaste with fluoride recently, because I tend to stray away from full-fledged adult toothpastes and anything with whitening benefits while pregnant.


My nails have actually been mainly a non-issue this pregnancy.  I'm a huge fan of sparkly (and terrible-for-you) nail polish on my toenails, but I've also been a big slacker on that.  I haven't used any nail polish on my fingernails this pregnancy and have done my toes about twice.  I plan on getting my toenails done (with the same sparkly-bad-for-you polish I mentioned above) before my due date as a last pampering sort of thing, but again, moderation is key.  I don't think I introduced a crazy amount of chemicals to my unborn child by painting my own nails twice and getting them done once in my pregnancy.

So there you have it.  

Those are pretty much the only personal care products I've used this pregnancy.  It's a pretty short list, but those products keep me looking (and smelling) fresh and presentable without all the added toxins and chemicals.  

What do you think about my choice of products?  Do you have any recommendations for me?  What natural products do you use that you love or hate and why?

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

To do list update #1

Since I posted a few weeks ago regarding my crazy to do list, I want to check in every 2-3 weeks to keep myself accountable to actually finish some of this stuff. 

I'm not going to lie, I haven't had a ton of motivation lately, but here's what we've done so far!

- Tear apart car seats (new baby & little man's), wash, and re-install in both DH & my cars.  Done.

- Wash/sanitize bottles.  Done.

- Call insurance company, try to get started on getting my new pump.

- Bring bassinet up from the basement and wash all linens.  Done.

- Dig through all little man's tubs of old clothes in the basement to find onesies/socks/anything unisex that can be used again.  Wash said clothing.  Done.  Holy goodness we had a lot of white onesies.  Also, I've realized that I need more sleep sacks.  I'll add that below.

- Reorganize the new baby girl clothing in the nursery room dresser so that it is in some semblance of order based on sizes and functions (pj's versus outfits).  Done.  This also helped me to realize I didn't have a ton of 0-3 or 3 month clothing.  My mom picked up a few things for us (love you mom!) and I'll go thrifting soon to see if I can find more.

- Pack hospital bag.

- Finish little man's toddler room.  Secure dresser to wall, finish spray painting wicker baskets, finish painting oars, finish organizing book shelf, find picture frames and pictures for book shelf.  Send out fabric for bunting flags and hang them when they are done.  This one also is partially done.  I think the only thing we have left to do is hang the flags once my lovely friend Heidi over at The Pajama Mama is finished doing all the amazingness that she does!

- Transition little man into said toddler room.    In process, but he is doing amazing!

- Make and go to endocrinologist appointment.  
(Oh, yeah, I didn't mention that yet?  Yes, now my thyroid levels are off, so I get to meet with another specialist this pregnancy.  Joy.)  Done.  No further comment, my head is still in the sand on this one.
- Meet with our doula.  Done!  Two meetings complete and more scheduled upcoming!

- Make freezer meals.  
(Beth- I'm looking at you!  Let's get a date picked out!)

- Stock up on groceries/pantry staples we'll need after the baby (such as milk for little man, snacks, bread to freeze, easy dinner options like macaroni & cheese, etc.).

- Buy a new video monitor for little man's toddler room.   Done!  New monitor up and installed.  Thankfully, it was just in time for DH to hurt his back a few days later, and he ended up sleeping in the toddler room in a recliner for a few days, so I was able to have both my boys on a monitor!  Lol.

- Wash boppy and boppy covers.  Done!  Now just to put the cover back on the pillow before it gets lost...

- Submit all required FMLA/STD paperwork.  Finish all discharged charts, orient maternity leave coverage SLP to all of my clients.  Finish getting all co-workers competencied on the Visi-Pitch equipment.  

- Clean the carpets.

- Deep clean the heck out of the house.

-Stock up on all new baby basic need stuff that I used last time around, like breastmilk storage bags, newborn disposables for the hospital, Lansinoh soothing gel pads, etc.  

- Finish all of the little baby proofing tasks we've been putting off because we're able to keep an eye on little man all the time now.

- Even if we can't get out for a real date, at least order in pizza one night and watch a few movies just DH and I after little man goes to bed.  

- Put my feet up for like 10 minutes before this baby comes?

Here are some items I'm going to add to my list for the next check-in:
- Stock up on more sleep sacks.

- Stock up on more 0-3 and 3 month clothing.

- Finish purchasing Christmas gifts and wrap said gifts. 

Okay, now I'm glad I updated, because we accomplished much more than I thought we had.  

Thankfully, the other weekend DH also went out and did a ton of fall gardening and yard work so we'd be ahead on that front as well, AND we put up our Christmas tree yesterday!

Less than 35 days until my due date, we better get on this stuff!!!!

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Friday, November 23, 2012

Why I don't shop on Black Friday

As Thanksgiving comes to a close every year, many friends and family I know run out to the stores either very late on Thanksgiving night or very early in the morning on Black Friday.

I have gone Black Friday shopping once and will never go back.  

Here's why:

- Let's start out with a reason you'll all expect from me.  I typically buy used.  To me, it makes a lot more sense to buy a gently used, gently loved toy at a much more decent price.  It saves on money but also waste, as there isn't as much packaging that comes with a used toy.  Also, my little man is small enough that he doesn't care where it comes from, all he sees is a new toy.

- People get hectic and buy random stuff they don't need on Black Friday.  I mean, isn't that the whole point?  The stores love plenty of lines and tons of people grabbing up whatever they can find like we have no manners as a society, because their pocketbook benefits.  And, while it may be fun, if you don't have the extra cash laying around, you really don't need to be spending it on that movie you never would have bought anyway, but that you got the BEST deal on...

If you are going to look for specific items, make a list, and stick to that list.  Give yourself a budget and don't go over it by buying something you never needed in the first place.

- Many items are marked up specifically for November to be "marked down" for your fabulous Black Friday deals.  Things like toys, some electronics, and some housewares, for example, are much less expensive in earlier fall (say October, or even early November) than they are even with Black Friday deals.  Your best time of the year to shop for Christmas is either right after Christmas (for the next year) or for a few months prior to December.  Although, do check for late Christmas deals, as some retailers will provide great deals for super-late shoppers in the few days before Christmas.

- And then there are my personal reasons, mainly because I just don't like shopping.  Much less, on the busiest day of the year.  I'm not a fan of crowds, people who haven't slept the night before, or those who haven't quite worked off last night's wine.  People tend to become even less inhibited in their words and actions in large crowds, and most of the time it is less than pleasant.  I'd rather be spending the day enjoying my family, not fighting with random people sorting through the same bins of junk for sale. 

Maybe my opinions are because I never went as a child with my family, or because- again- I really don't like shopping at this point in my life.  But I just can't shop Black Friday.

Do any of you shop Black Friday sales?  Are there any tips you have to actually get good deals on things you really want or need to buy?

(If anyone has Black Friday grocery shopping tips- I would be totally in on hearing those!) :)

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Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

For those of you that follow The Naptown Organizer Facebook Page, you've seen that each and every day this month, I've been posting something for which I am thankful.  It has actually been really nice and extremely helpful in letting me see just how much I do have to be thankful for in my life.  

On this Thanksgiving Day, my heart is swollen with love for my family, but especially for our daughter who is soon to be born.

Both little lady to be and I myself have fought hard to get to this point.  From being told she had miscarried in the first trimester, to not taking the medicine they gave me to remove her from my body, to her tough little body fighting through each and every obstacle to grow and flourish within my belly- we've fought together.  

Pregnancy was a difficult position to understand at times while I was growing little man.  Would he love me? Would I immediately fall in love with him?  Would he know me after he was born, just like he had when I was carrying him?

As a first time mama, I was uncertain and unsure, hoping for the best- but not really knowing how everything happened.

With this child, our baby girl, she and I have already been fighting for a common purpose.  We are not only tied by the umbilical cord that connects us right now, but by the love we've had for each other to make it to this point.

I strongly believe that she has heard my words pleading to her to stay, my prayers of hope for her well-being and development, my tears of absolute pure joy and relief when she was not just okay, but doing amazing at every ultrasound we've had.  I know that she can feel what I feel and I am so thankful for that, because I know that means she understands the depth of emotions I have for her.  

When I first became pregnant with this child, I did wonder if I'd love her as much as I love my son.  I thought to myself, how is that even possible?  I've never loved anything in the way that I love him- the love for little man has been life-changing for me.  

But I know now, that I do already love her in just that perfect, world-altering way that I love little man.  Because she has never existed in a shaded frame.  It has always been black and white whether she was with us still or had left us.  And that allowed me to love her as a daughter, as a child, and as a person, and not just as a concept.  She is, and has always been since the beginning of this pregnancy, heavily real to me.

So, while I will be thankful for my entire family and close friends as we sit down to dinner tonight- for my amazing husband, my beautiful son, and for all of the rest of my extended family- I will especially be thinking of just how thankful I am that this little girl and I have fought to be there, celebrating together.

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Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Why we don't make Christmas lists.

In the past few weeks, at least half or more of the blogs I LOVE to follow have posted Christmas lists for their children.  

You can find some of these Christmas lists here:

The Kavanaugh Report
Growing Up Geeky
The Froggy and the Mouse
Olive Juice Box
Boys in the Northwoods
...and the list goes on and on.

While I absolutely respect and admire all of these ladies for their amazing blogs and love to join their link ups- I just can't get in on a Christmas list link up.

8 months pregnant with little man two years ago
DH & I have discussed several times trying to limit the amount of gifts given at holidays in our home, due to many factors, some of which being the history of gift-giving in our family life.

My parents are really, really hardworking people who put their children's needs above their own in many circumstances, the holidays included.  When my sister and I woke on Christmas morning, there were literally couches, sofas, and floors filled with gifts.  There were so many gifts that often it would take hours to open them all.  

I love my parents so deeply and appreciate everything they tried to do for my sister and I, and everything they gave and continually give to us.

But, for us, Christmas is going to be a little different.  

DH & I have discussed a gift limit, as it were.  What we'd love to have happen, is that one person or family gets one gift for each person.  One thing.  So it doesn't get crazy.  For example:  DH & I will give little man one gift.  My parents will give little man one gift.  My IL's will give little man one gift.  My sister and SIL/BIL will give little man one gift.  That way, he receives a gift from each part of his family, but it doesn't go so crazy overboard.  If you calculated, at the end, he still comes out with 5 gifts.  I think 5 new toys for a toddler is MORE than sufficient!  

As little man and little lady grow a bit, they will be able to help pick out one special gift for each family member in return.  I think it will help them value the thought and effort (well, when they're older) that goes into choosing a gift for someone else.  I want to teach them that giving someone a gift is special, appreciated, and thoughtful.  That way, we also aren't wasting hard-earned money on just giving "stuff" that our family won't use or appreciate.  

I know that this path will get harder and harder to tread as our children grow older.  However, I also know that as our children get older and we add more children to the family, the number of gifts given at a holiday will also increase.  And, if each child learns that their gifts are also to be shared with siblings, we are teaching them another lesson in and of itself.

If family members ask what we'd like for little man (or little lady) for Christmas or birthdays, we will definitely be open to discussing one small, appropriate gift, especially when we are asking if there is anything they'd like for their gift.  But a full list of items posted on my blog reduces the human factor of the holidays.  It cuts out just one more conversation we'd get to have with those family members who we don't always connect with as much as we'd like.  And- to be honest- I'd much rather have the conversation than the gift in most circumstances anyway!

Hopefully, we'll be able to continue to reign in our families on not over-buying for the holidays (I love you, mom!) for years to come.  But, for now, this system seems to be working really well for our family.

How do you keep crazy overspending from happening during the holidays?  Do you feel overwhelmed at times with the number of toys your child receives?

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Monday, November 19, 2012

J.R. Liggett Product Review

Most of you know that I try to keep my personal and body care products fairly healthy, and while I'm pregnant I feel especially compelled to use safe products.  

Prior to becoming pregnant again, I blogged about how I didn't wash my hair with shampoo, only with baking soda and apple cider vinegar.  Sadly, once I became pregnant, I couldn't keep it up.

Pretty much all the old wives tales regarding having a girl were true for me, as I immediately began to look and feel like a teenage boy because of how much grease I began to produce in my first trimester.  My whole face broke out, my hair became incredibly greasy, and I just looked like a hot mess.  I tried to tough it out with my normal ACV/BS routine, but it soon got to the point where I needed something stronger to clean my hair.

Based on the recommendation of a few other crunchy mamas, I heard about J.R. Liggett's hair and body products.  The J.R. Liggett Company is an awesomely crunchy company who makes products from 100% natural oils with no animal products, petroleum based detergents, or sodium lauryl sulfate.  The products are meant to wash your hair without stripping it's natural oils, which sounded like a great alternative to conventional shampoos to me- especially since I'd gotten my hair to only washing once or twice a week without using shampoo.

Luckily, the J.R. Liggett Company was kind enough to send me a few samples to try of their products.  The products I received are as follows:

Virgin Coconut and Argan Oil Shampoo Bar

Shaving Foam

& Lemon Lime Spray Body Oil

Let me just say with 100% certainty that while I was provided these products free of charge for this review, that I was not compensated for this post and that my opinions are entirely my own.  

I LOVE these products.  

From the extremely minimal and partially recycled/recyclable packaging they arrived in to the fact that they are completely, 100% biodegradable as they wash down the drain, these are great personal care products.  

Let's start with the shampoo bar.  I received these products in mid September and have been using them every shower since.  The bar shampoo- which looks just like a bar of soap- is not even close to being halfway used at this point.  Not only is it extremely long-lasting, but the bar shampoo really gives me that lather I missed while using ACV/BS washes.  After washing, J.R. Liggett's bar shampoo rinses out very cleanly and didn't seem to leave any residue on my hair.  A quick comb through with a wide-toothed pick after hopping out of the shower, and I'm good to go.  I typically let my hair dry overnight and it lasts for 3-4 days on one wash with no grease whatsoever.  The Coconut and Argan Oil shampoo bar gets an A+ on my list.

J.R. Liggett's shaving foam was the next on my list to review.  

Here comes some TMI, so plug your ears.

I'll be honest.  I'm not super dedicated to shaving.  I mean, I shave... sometimes...  Yep.  

The first time I tried the shaving foam, I was pleasantly surprised.  The bottle was smaller than I expected it would be, but I found that 2 pumps of foam covered each leg completely.  The foam did have a slightly manly smell to it, but I didn't notice the smell lingering after I rinsed.  What I did notice was that my legs felt much more moisturized after getting out of the shower than when I didn't use the shave foam.  I will say though, that because I don't shave all together that often, and I have already used the entire bottle in just around two month's time, that I'll give this a B+.

The last product I tried was the Lemon Lime Spray Body Oil.  The Lemon Lime Oil contains oils like almond, jojoba, and avocado, as well as aloe vera and vitamin E.  The smell is really crisp and fresh and the oil covers well with a small amount.  I typically apply the oil lotion after my shower at night before bed.  That way, the oil moisturizes my skin overnight and I wake up with the perfectly soft but not greasy feel to my skin.  The Lemon Lime Oil gets another A+ on my list, and I've been alternating this with my forever love of straight coconut oil as a lotion.

If you haven't heard of J.R. Liggett's, I highly recommend you head on over to their website and check out their products.  In addition to the products I reviewed, they also make lip gloss, body wash, and even pet shampoo!  Thankfully these products have helped me get through the still-hormonally-greasy pregnancy hair and skin and come out looking fresh and smelling great!

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Saturday, November 17, 2012

Holy pregnancy size comparison!

In the past few weeks, I've felt much larger than I previously have this entire pregnancy.  

However, at this point, I'm still weighing in at least 10 lbs less now than I did at this point in little man's pregnancy.  So, I thought I'd pull up some old pictures and go back to compare.  

Here are two pictures, the one on the left is from little man's pregnancy at 34 weeks and the one on the right is from my current pregnancy at 33 and a half weeks pregnant.

Let's ignore the fact that I just woke up and my face is already hugely swollen in the picture on the right, but comparatively, I feel really small.  And, man, do these pictures show it!  At this point in my current pregnancy, I am just about as big as I was in my 25 week picture from last pregnancy.  

With little man's pregnancy, as evidenced in the left picture above, I was pretty much wearing tents at that point.  Nothing with any stretch fit well comfortably for very long, and comfort was key in the 8th and 9th month of pregnancy.  

Now, though, I can still get away with some tops that aren't even maternity wear, if they are long enough and somewhat stretchy.  And I don't even feel like I'm going to ruin them!  So, so different!

And everyone told me I was going to get much bigger, much sooner with a second pregnancy.  

Anyone else massively smaller with a subsequent pregnancy?

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Patient Bill of Rights- Your right to refuse.

Every year for my hospital-based jobs, I have to complete yearly competencies.  These competencies are computer based presentations and then quizzes over the content presented.  Typically, the topics covered include HIPAA, patient safety, corporate compliance, etc.  

Yesterday morning, while working a shift, I completed a competency discussing the Patient's Bill of Rights.

You all know what the Bill of Rights is, yea?  (I hope so!)

The hospital version is very similar to the concept of our national Bill of Rights, in that it seeks to protect your basic rights and freedoms- only as a patient.

At every hospital you attend, there will be (somewhere) a posted Patient Bill of Rights.  In most cases, you can find the Patient Bill of Rights for your specific hospital or medical center by just looking at their website- as many facilities have it stated directly in clear terms on their site.  

There are many things that a Patient Bill of Rights includes, such as being entitled to knowledge of the following: available services and providers, diagnosis and treatment options, hospital charges and fees, etc. 
One other area that caught my eye was that each patient has the right to refusal of medication and treatment.
As I sat and read through the Patient Bill of Rights competency, I thought for a good while about my typical patients/clients and how I proceed with their care.  In speech pathology, there are a large number of clients who have trouble eating and drinking.  As my clients age, we see decreased functional muscle reserve coupled with multiple diagnoses and comorbidities that cause the act of eating and drinking to become very difficult and often dangerous.  

However, in most of these cases, there will be some sort of "Quality of Life" discussion.  If a client is nearing the end of their time with us on earth, we always discuss just how much change they are willing to make.  In some cases, patients will refuse either surgical or dietary change related interventions- after being informed and educated of the risks this choice presents and the possible consequences of that choice- in order to continue to eat for pleasure and quality of life.  

With this type of case- and many other cases in the hospital where a patient refuses a procedure or treatment- it is their choice.  I provide all the information to them in a calm, educational manner, and they are then left to decide, for their body and their life, what the correct path may be.  

And then we look to maternity care.

During little man's birth, knowing what I do about the hospital and patient rights and protections, I listened very carefully to how they posed suggestions and recommendations.  

Not once did someone (a doctor or nurse) come into my labor room, sit down calmly with me, and discuss the options I have.  

When a doctor (or typically nurse) would enter the room with their recommendations to do something differently- for example: when they wanted me to start pitocin- they would walk in, stand next to me for a moment or two, say that they would like to give me pitocin for XYZ reasons, and then wait for my response.  

Not once did that healthcare professional say what my other options were, how long I had to make that decision (until I pressed them for more time), or what were all the possible consequences of if I didn't follow their procedure or treatment recommendation.  Sure, when I pressed for more time and gave indications of NOT wanting to allow their interventions, they told me the worst case scenarios about what would happen to my baby (fear mongering, anyone?), but no one ever told me other scenarios.

Additionally, later in my delivery when I did ask for specific requests while birthing my son (such as no episiotomy and please don't count to ten for me while I'm pushing)- my requests were either ignored as they counted anyway, or they were continued to be discussed as an option even after I explicitly said no in regards to the episiotomy.  

As a healthcare provider, as a mother, as a woman... we need to do better.

Yes, birth is a complicated experience, with possibilities to go wrong all up and down the path we walk to the child's entry into this world.  But so is a heart surgery, radiation treatment, or blood transfusion.

We do such an excellent job as care providers making our clients aware of all these situations/options/choices in almost EVERY area of health other than maternity care.  

And why?

A life is a life, whether it is a baby or child's life or an elderly client's life.  Neither is more important than the other, and both deserve to know all of the possible choices and options.

Because we as health professionals don't have the final say.  

In the end, it is that mother's body and baby and choice, just as it is my elderly client's body and choice.  Just because there is a child involved, it gives me no further right to make decisions for that patient and family than I would have for any other patient.

If you are a healthcare professional- especially one working in labor and delivery- please think about how you approach your patients and clients.  Can you do better?  Can you explain more?  Can you spend more time helping your patients through these decisions?  Can you take your own personal experiences or history out of the equation with other deliveries and look at each mother as a unique individual with unique needs?

As an expecting mother and possible patient of a hospital, I urge you to speak for yourself.  Ask why, ask what your other options are, ask how much time you have to make those decisions.  If you are only given half the information, the choice you're making may not always be the best one for you, even if your doctor believes it to be so.  

Hopefully, by both patients and professionals working steadfastly to improve our maternity care, we can proceed to better patient outcomes for both mothers and babies.

Honestly?  It is going to take a lot of work and a lot of change.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Big changes are upcoming for this family!

And I'm not only referring to the fact that we are bringing a new baby home in a month or two.

As of a week or two ago, I've announced to my part-time job (two ten-hour shifts per week) that I will not be returning to work in that capacity.  

What I have been doing for the past few years is working one part-time hospital speech pathologist position (again for two ten-hour shifts per week), working one PRN (or as needed) hospital position at another nearby hospital typically one or two days per week, and working one PRN nursing home position at between 6-10 nursing homes in my area, depending on what location needs more hours/help.

That sounds confusing and like too many jobs, right?  

If you're not in healthcare or a related field that utilizes PRN help, basically I find out the week of or week before what shifts I am working.  If either the PRN hospital job or the nursing home needs extra help, I am able to look at what hours they have available and either agree to work some or all of those hours or tell them I am unavailable.  I work only the amount of hours per week that I agree to and am comfortable with working.  Typically, because PRN jobs carry no benefits, insurance, etc.- you are able to make a much higher pay rate that way.  Because DH carries our (excellent) health insurance, I am able to work these PRN positions without having to worry.

But back to my part-time job.

There had been several changes made recently affecting part time workers.  I won't go completely into specifics, but let's just say that it entails my position losing vacation/sick time and short term disability as I mentioned in my terrible week post.  This is in addition to the fact that the pay rate (PRN or part-time) at this hospital is significantly lower than my other two positions.

I will be the first to say that I LOVE my part time job.

But, it isn't about me anymore.  

If I'm able to work less hours somewhere else for the same pay- enabling me to spend more time with my children and my husband- I need to do so.  When I was young, unmarried, or even married without children, finding and choosing my "dream job" was of the utmost importance.  And, I did find it in my part-time job.

However for me, as a parent, my priorities shifted.  Somehow, after having my son and now getting ready to have our second baby in less than 2 months, even a dream job pales in comparison to getting to see my beautiful son's face for a few more hours per day.  To not have to wake him at 6:00 in the morning to shuttle him off to daycare until 6:00p that night.  To see his unhappy tears as DH puts him in the car and drives him off to spend the day away from both of us.  

These feelings- coupled with the changes at my part-time job- encouraged DH and I to decide that we needed a change.

When I approached my boss about it, who is and has been a WONDERFUL boss in the past several years at my job- he was very understanding and did offer me to stay on PRN at that hospital as well.  

So, as of when I leave to have new baby in December, I will only be working in an as-needed situation.

Ideally, this is the best situation for my family at this time.  As I mentioned earlier, I'm able to pick and choose my hours, days, and amount of time spent working.  If we are in more need of cash one month, I can pick up additional hours.  If we aren't, I can spend more time with my family.  I do plan on working at least two days per week most weeks based on available hours, because we will be continuing with our new/current daycare provider at a minimum of two day's coverage per week, but I can choose what time I'll be starting and for how long I'll be at that job each day.  This cuts down on the crazy early wake-times as we all know little man does not like to wake before half the day is gone.  I will also continue to pick up some hours on the weekends while DH is home with little man, as that cuts down on daycare costs and has worked extremely well for our family up to this point.

This is going to be a huge transition for our family.  But mentally, financially, and emotionally, I think we are ready for it.  I don't want to miss a second with my children, and while I will REALLY miss all of my wonderful coworkers and friends at my part-time job, I am so very excited to be more present for my growing family.

How did your work situation change after having children?  What is your ideal work situation?

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Trusting your daycare provider

Recently, there have been several stories in the mainstream media regarding some VERY scary situations that have happened to children while in the care of a daycare provider.  

As I mentioned previously, we recently switched daycare providers because of a situation that occurred with which we were uncomfortable.  Little man is completely fine, thankfully, and there were no issues relating to him, but there was a problem with another child in the care of our provider that prompted us to look for new care.

Trust is a very hard thing for me personally.  

There are a very select few people I fully trust in my life, and to be honest, the number is able to be counted on one hand.  I've been burned a few times in the past in personal relationships, and I tend to guard myself, my emotions, and my insecurities quite heavily.  

However, when you are a parent- you HAVE to trust in others.  Unless one spouse does not ever work, you go practically nowhere (who needs to see a doctor or a dentist, anyway!), and you're almost never alone with your spouse, you are unable to rely solely on yourself and your partner to care for your children.

When you don't have family near by, or your family is unable to care for your children, you are forced to rely on strangers to care for your child.  

It sounds really, really odd, right?  

I mean, your child is the most prized possession you'll ever hold in your life.  You wouldn't hand a million dollars to someone you barely know and expect them to guard it with their life, yet, our children are worth more than thousands of millions of dollars, and we have to do this every day.

Little man playing at daycare
I've been mulling this topic over in my head since we switched daycare providers, but I still can't figure out a resolution in my head.  I have to work, at least some, but I have trust issues larger than an ocean and soon-to-be two children for whom I'd throw myself in front of a bus to ensure their safety and happiness.

The textbook, easy answer would be to say you do the best you can.  

But- in some situations like we've seen in the media- even when you do your best to find adequate care for your child, that best isn't good enough and scary situations still occur.  

I guess at this point, all I can do is work as hard as possible to split schedules with my husband, encourage and support his work endeavors, and try and limit the time my children are away from me.  Because in my mind there will never be anyone who cares for my child as well as myself or my husband could.  And that is just the nature of being a parent.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

But what kind of milk do you use?

Since little man decided he was finished nursing, and I no longer have a frozen stash of mama milk, we've transitioned into having little man drink non-mama milk.  But- for us- that doesn't mean cow's milk.  One of the most frequent questions I've been asked lately is regarding what type of milk we give little man- and the rationale behind our choice.

To preface this post:  I am not a cow's milk type of person.  I was raised to drink cow's milk and drank only skim milk from the time I began drinking milk until a few years before little man was born.  However, soon after DH & I were married, I began doing quite a bit of reading and began to look into and use dairy free options.  In fact, for a period of time before I became pregnant with little man, I was completely vegan.  (Meaning no meat, fish, dairy, etc.)

After becoming pregnant with little man, I have become sort of an in-betweener.  I drink almond or coconut milk, eat some cheese or other dairy products, and very infrequently will have something with meat in it.  

However, after becoming a nursing mother, I don't know that I will ever look at cow's milk the same way again.  

When I began to read into why some people choose a vegan lifestyle, cruel or unfair treatment of animals was typically high on the list of justifications.  I read over and over about how milk cows are attached to pumps in such a constant way that their bodies are completely over-producing milk, which causes infections and mastitis.  There are so many antibiotics given to cows specifically because they are being forced to produce too much milk and it is making them sick.  

I pumped breastmilk for little man for over a year.  I know what it feels like to have clogged ducts and mastitis.  I know the pain of an oversupply.

I feel for those cows.

Because of that and other health-related concerns, while I do eat some dairy, I tend to limit the amount that our family consumes.

So, then what do we do to replace the nutritional benefits of milk?

Is there any good substitution?

Well, right now we use a mix of almond milk and coconut milk.  I don't feel, based on what each nutritionally provides, that either are good enough by themselves, for the next few reasons.  Coconut milk has a much higher fat content, and that fat content is beneficial for growing children, for the same reason that you don't feed skim milk to toddlers.  But coconut milk doesn't contain a good amount of other nutrients.  We mix the coconut milk half and half with almond milk, as almond milk has a much higher calcium and vitamin D content.  

Are these (coconut and almond milk) perfect?


However, they are the least offensive to our family currently.  Soy milk contains a lot of ingredients that have been shown to cause significant problems in your body, specifically to your thyroid.  With my strong family history of thyroid problems, I try to stay away from soy altogether (minus the rare treat of edamame!!!).  Rice milk doesn't contain what almond or coconut milk does nutritionally.  Ideally, I'd love to switch to raw milk from a local farm where I could visit and observe the treatment of the cows, however, raw milk sales for human consumption is illegal in my state.

One of the common misconceptions I hear when discussing milk or dairy consumption with friends or relatives, however, typically tends to be that you can ONLY obtain the nutrients you need like calcium, vitamin D, etc. from milk or dairy products.  This just isn't the case.  

If you were to really study it, you'd find that eating a healthy diet filled with beans, high protein grains (like quinoa), green/leafy vegetables, and fruits can completely satisfy your nutritional needs.  This is one of the main reasons that little man drinks a fruit and vegetable smoothie every day, to help cover his needs nutritionally, even when he doesn't want to eat right- or, really, as a toddler- to eat at all!

As a family, this is one of the decisions we've made and find it works well for our personal needs, however, I am by no means a nutritionist nor do I know what works well for your family, you need to use your own judgment!  

Do you have any nutritional concerns for your family?  What kind of milk do you serve at home?

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

32 week bumpdate!

As I type up this post, I officially have 55 days remaining until my due date and only 34 days until this baby is full term.  If I'm looking at how long little man's pregnancy lasted, there are only 50 days left until the gestational age in which he was born.
Photo sneak peak of our family pictures courtesy of the awesome Kasey @!
New baby (yes, still nameless....!) is now 32 weeks and we are almost 40% through my third trimester.  Since I posted last at 26 weeks, I have a lot to update!

Most importantly, we have been released from the Maternal Fetal Medicine specialist!!!  Earlier this week, we had what I'm hoping to be my final pregnancy ultrasound this time around at the MFM office.  Since my last ultrasound showed some slowing in the growth of the long bones of the arms and legs, the doctor asked me to return for one more ultrasound after 30 weeks to check the progress of baby girl's growth.  

Thankfully, her leg and arm growth had gone from being in the 8th and 10th percentile last appointment to now being somewhere between the 27th and 37th percentile, I can't remember which.  Either way- she is growing- and they said we did not need to see their specialist any more!

Since I have been seeing the MFM doctor for at least five months of this pregnancy, it is nice to just be released to continue the pregnancy in a more normal fashion and only having to see the regular Ob.  
The MFM doctor did mention at the last ultrasound that baby girl continues in the breech position, and already started to comment on an external version at 36 weeks (where you are given medications to relax your muscles and then they attempt to move your baby with their hands from the outside) or a scheduled C-section at 39 weeks.  

Well, sorry folks, but even if this babe continues breech at 39 weeks, I will not be having a scheduled C-section.  This is a slight aside, but in my opinion, just because a baby is breech in position, it does not make any sense to schedule a C-section in advance, prior to my child actually being ready to be birthed.  IF she is still breech at 39 weeks, or 40 weeks, or even 41 weeks, and a C-section is an option on the table (no pun intended), I will allow my body to go into labor first.  That way I know for sure baby girl is actually ready to be birthed and also it gives her time just in case she wants to flip at that time.

Thankfully, when I talked to both my midwife and the actual Ob from the normal practice, neither seemed concerned.  The Ob dismissed the comments the MFM doctor made entirely, saying that baby girl has plenty of time to turn head down and that it isn't even a concern at this point.  My midwife expressed the same idea that baby has plenty of time to turn, but did give me a few recommendations on techniques to try.  

Interestingly enough, the Ob vehemently reported that they would NOT deliver a breech baby vaginally if the presentation still remains at birth, while my midwife explained that she would, although went into detail on the fact that they are trained in breech birth as well as the extra precautions they would use to ensure both my and baby's safety, such as an extra midwife present, etc.

For now, I've been trying a few things to encourage baby girl to turn, but haven't been stressing over it.  She'll turn when she turns.  Just in case anyone else has a breech babe, here are the things I've been doing:

- Seeing a chiropractor.  I've had one appointment so far to complete the Webster technique for pregnant ladies.  (While having nothing to do with baby being bottom down, I did notice less leg pain and decreased swelling in my ankles and legs the night after my appointment.)

- Completing exercises from the Spinning Babies website.  The main exercises I've been completing are inversions and the cat back exercises.

- Using peppermint oil on the top of my belly.  While it seems a little silly, I've heard that some babies do not like the peppermint oil and will turn away from it.  We use peppermint oil all the time for other body and home purposes and I love the smell, so this is actually the least effortful technique I've been using.

- Playing music down near my lady bits.  I have to laugh a little at doing this one, but it was recommended to me by several people- and it's just a bit less awkward than having my husband talk to the baby down there as I was also recommended to do.  Again, the concept is that baby will move toward the sound.  

If these techniques don't succeed in encouraging baby girl to move head down, my midwife does perform moxibustion (a Chinese technique intended to increase circulation and blood flow to help the baby turn) and I've also been given a recommendation from a friend of mine to see a acupuncturist.  From looking at their website, It seems they recommend to come in around 35 weeks if the baby is still breech.

As most of you know, I'm a planning type of girl, so having some possible ideas and techniques to use really helps me to feel some control in an uncontrollable situation.  :)  It's working well for me.

Other than that- and the posts I made about lack of energy and my ever growing to do list- the pregnancy is going really well.  I'm slowing crossing off items on my list and getting ready for the holiday season that will introduce a new member of our family.  

Now all I need to do is get DH to put up the Christmas tree so I can pretend we're almost there!!!

How are all my other pregnant mama friends feeling?  How are your pregnancies progressing?

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Monday, November 5, 2012

Mama Guilt- Early Morning Edition...

There are a multitude of things that mothers feel guilt over when it comes to their children.  In fact, since there are two sides to a coin with pros and cons for most choices that parents make, there are not many parenting topics without a possibility of feeling some guilt for "having done _________ incorrectly."

Sleep- and helping your child's sleep patterns- have always been a hot topic of mommy guilt.  But, I'd like to approach it from a different angle today.

I hate having to wake my child.  

To me, there is almost nothing worse than walking into my sleeping babe's room in the dark- seeing his sweet, precious, relaxed slumber- and having to abruptly wake him.

Because, really, no matter how I do it, he is my child, and little man always wakes with a startled and confused look, as if to say, "Why, mama?  I was fine!"

I recently had a conversation with a co-worker of mine about early wakings.  Mainly we discussed our mutual feelings of guilt at dragging our little ones out of bed, out of the home, out of their normal routine just to accommodate our work schedules.  Not being able to see their happy little faces as you move slowly through a morning routine such as songs during tooth brushing, calling Grammy during breakfast, and slowly easing into our day is something that both my co-worker and I miss greatly.

I may feel so much guilt because of the time of day that I need to wake little man.  On days I work my long shifts when DH is unable to take little man to daycare later, I have to wake him up between 5:45 and 6a.  And literally- on those days- I have our timing down to a science.  Bag is packed by the door with supplies for his day, milk in a cup waiting in the fridge, dry cereal in a to-go container on the counter, coat sitting in a chair.  From wake-up to stepping out the door, we are typically done in less than 15 minutes.  

I honestly just can't handle waking him any sooner.  Even if it meant a slow, relaxed breakfast at home instead of little man taking his breakfast at daycare, I just can't handle the thought of waking him at 5:30a to do so, especially when on a typical day he would sleep for HOURS beyond that.  

Other than becoming a stay at home mom or hiring a nanny to come to our family home (both of which are not financial possibilities at this time), there isn't a whole lot I can do about my mommy guilt.  

He needs his sleep, but I have to work.  

There really isn't any other option.

Nevertheless, I will continue to feel the guilt.

What are some things that you feel guilty about when it comes to parenting your child?

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Saturday, November 3, 2012

Pregnancy fears.

Being a second time mom is WAY easier than being a first time mom.
Little man & I at one day old.
Last pregnancy with little man, I was so scared about everything.  I was scared about my water breaking, losing my mucus plug (TMI, sorry!), having the baby on the way to the hospital, etc.  The biggest fear I had was the actual labor and delivery, looming above my head like a big fog of uncertainty.  

As a first time mom, even if you've attended births of family members or friends, you don't have a stinking clue of what is ahead of you.  

Will my labor be fast or slow?

What will labor and delivery feel like?

Will the pain be bearable?

Will I need medications/interventions?

Will I throw my birth plan out the window?

Honestly, I think I was more scared of what could possibly happen than the actual idea of the birth of my son.  

Thankfully, I had a fairly uncomplicated birth with little man- I was still able to deliver vaginally with no huge problems other than having to take pitocin due to weak contractions after my water had broken, and then subsequently getting an epidural a few hours later.  I was very lucky to experience that change-your-life moment where my son was placed on my chest and we fell in love.  It is the biggest high and best moment of my life to this point.  

If I would have known just how little the pain or fear meant at that point, I would have been so much less fearful.  But, you can't really understand that until you go through it and get there. 
This time?  I know what it feels like.  I know how things happen, before and after delivery and birth.  I know what it is like to have my water break, to feel contractions, to birth the placenta.  Yep, that part was really gross.  But I know.  

And, I'm not scared.

I probably should be, but I'm really not.  Not one bit.  Even though I know that birth also brings a newborn, which means you won't sleep a full night again for months (for some parents- years), I'm not scared about that part either.  

I am completely excited.  

I just want to meet my daughter, to hold her, to snuggle her sweet little baby self.  After all of the uncertainty and confusion, the loss and the gain, the stress and the joy, I am so looking forward to that moment again.  I just want to feel her in my arms and know that she has arrived, that she is healthy, that we are a family of four.  

I think that's the first time I've said family of four.  The first time I've realized that we actually are going to be a family of four.  I grew up in a family of four and it was wonderful.  In a few short weeks, we will be at that stage.

And I am not scared.

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Thursday, November 1, 2012

This week sucked.

Before I post my 32 week update, there are a few things I needed to get off of my chest.  

This past week has been terrible.  Pretty much most of what could go wrong has, and it hasn't been an easy week for anyone in our little family.  

It started out with DH & I finding out about a problem that was going on at our daycare, and we needed to find a new place for little man to be as soon as possible.  So, in just about three day's time, we went from one daycare to finding a new daycare for little man.  I'd rather not go deeply into the details of why we left, but let's just say it was a very emotional transition for us as a family, not to mention the fears of putting our child in an unfamiliar environment and hoping he does well.  (He did, just fine actually, but it was a really emotional week figuring everything out.)

Then the transmission in my car died.  Thankfully, it is under warranty, as we just bought this new-to-me car earlier this year, so now I get to drive around in a rental for a while.  (I think you finally know when you're an adult... when driving a rental is no longer fun- just an inconvenience that your car and your things are not the same...).  The worst part is that my car had decided to break down on DH while he was driving it two towns away at night, without his cell phone.  

You know where this is going, right?

He walked for almost an hour to a grocery store, then called me.  At that time, I had little man in the bathtub and didn't pick up.  So, he proceeded to continue to walk home.  By the time I got little man in bed and actually received the message, it was dark, and he'd been walking for almost two hours.  I frantically called a friend who drove around in the dark until he found DH and brought him home.  (Thank you Adam!)  Oh, and did I mention this was on DH's birthday?  Nice, right?

That led to a day or so of frantically trying to figure out what was wrong with the car, carpooling back and forth to the car to get it towed to the dealer, getting the dealer to actually look at it, and then carting all of us over to the dealer to pick up a rental before I had to go back to work the next day.  Basically, just a lot of hassle.

Well, then the next day (or was it the day before?  I can't remember now...) my boss at one of my jobs (if you remember correctly, I work three different places) called and told me that my part-timer status would no longer be eligible for benefits as of January first of 2013.  This is my only job with benefits.  Um, what?  Okay... Sooooo.... Would that mean my maternity leave would be covered?  What would happen to all my vacation hours?  My short term disability?  

Again, thankfully, I was able to find out that as long as my last day of work is in December, that they will cover my short term disability.  If I work one day in January, however, they will cover nothing except my full amount of vacation will be paid out.  But, again, just another reason to freak out the pregnant lady.... 

Then finally, the other day I went to my endocrinologist appointment.  I had mentioned previously that my TSH (thyroid) levels were off on my latest pregnancy-related blood work.  The Ob had referred me to a specialist to monitor me throughout and after my pregnancy.  

When I went to see the endocrinologist, I filled out several forms, answered a ton of questions, and completed his exam.  When he was finished doing a basic examination, the doctor took me a few rooms down and did an ultrasound of my thyroid.  (Yep, because I needed another one.  Wonder if I should count this one into my ever-growing number of pregnancy related ultrasounds?)

By the way, little man was with me this whole time and was a dream child.  He sat quietly in my lap during the questions, watched closely as the doctor examined me in the room, and sat on the bed by my side and quietly watched as the doctor did the ultrasound.  I could not have asked for a better behaved child!

Anyway, the results of the ultrasound weren't so great.  

The doctor told me that I have two nodules on my thyroid, one that was 2 cm in size and one that was 1.15 cm in size.  The doctor advised me that his next step would be to do a biopsy to see if they are benign or malignant, but that he would not recommend doing it yet, because I am pregnant.  The doctor reported that he typically liked to wait until after the pregnancy in this sort of a situation, as he wouldn't treat cancer or anything of that nature until I had the baby since I was so close to my due date at 32 weeks.  

So, there's that.

I honestly was fine at the appointment.  Little man was trying to play peek a boo with me at that point in time, and I was just trying to keep him smiling and happy while the doctor explained everything to me.  

When I got home, I got a little more frantic.  

I think anytime any doctor gives you a diagnosis that could be very scary, many things go through your mind.  I had several thoughts about my husband, my child, my new baby, my family.  For a little while there were some significant fears that crossed my mind.  This could be a very scary thing.  The thought of losing my family and my family losing me is almost unbearable.  

I gave myself the rest of the night to think about it and process the situation.

Then, the next morning, I put it out of my head.  

At this point in time, the doctor was right.  It could be something really simple and little as some benign nodules.  It could be something like cancer, but at this point, there is nothing to be done but wait until I have the baby.  I have a significant family history of thyroid problems, and in that esteemed group of women, even in those who have had cancer, they are all still living and breathing and thriving like the strong, tough women they are.  My family has shown me that thyroid cancer is a treatable cancer.  

But, at this point, it isn't healthy for either me, the baby I am carrying inside, or my family for me to walk around in fear of what might be.  We'll know when we know.  For now, I'm focusing on what I've been doing since day one of this pregnancy- fighting to give my unborn child the healthiest environment I can, even against adversity.  I'm taking comfort in the thought that it could be absolutely nothing, and that it isn't something I need to worry about at this point.  

Sure, it might be a little inconvenient and difficult for my impatient self to wait until my scheduled biopsy in the end of January, but I'm pretty sure I'll have someone pretty wonderful to distract me until that point.

So, while I think that overall, this week has been a whole bowl of suck, it might have been a good thing for me personally.  To be able to get through everything not-so-great that happened this week and still remain positive at the end of it, that is a win.  

I have my husband, my son, my unborn baby girl, and my family and friends surrounding me.  I have so much to be thankful for, to be happy about.  There's no room in my head for sad or scared thoughts at this point, thank you very much.   
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