Taste Buds Changing

Week 7

Due to my POTS, my doctor told me that it was OK for me to have caffeine.  The average pregnant woman is allowed 12oz of a caffeinated beverage each day.  Because of my low BP and not being able to take my meds, I was allowed to double that.

Even in the summer, I have the coldest office at work.  So pre-pregnancy I was have 3 or 4 cups of hot tea every day.

My Favorite Mug

Around the 7 week mark, my beloved tea started to taste… off.  I knew there was no way it could be bad, tea lasts forever, right?  And I’d been drinking the same tea the week before.  So why does it taste off?  Adding lemon, honey or more sugar didn’t help.

So not only am I nauseated, but now my favorite beverage tastes yucky.  Great.

And then I got sick after I (finally) finished a cup.  I think I’m done drinking tea for a while.

I usually have a sweet tooth, but sweets taste too sweet.  I’m usually a Pepsi person, but this baby prefers Coke.  My husband thinks that maybe this baby will FINALLY get me to try a piece of beef (which I’ve not eaten since I was 15).   At this rate, who knows.

They say that you will crave what your baby needs.  All I want is… well, nothing.

Symptoms Increase

6 Weeks Pregnant.

 

My kids are back in school now.  The minute the get on the bus, I’m on the couch trying to get some rest before I go to work in an hour.  But mostly I spend it getting sick.

 

Up until this week, I’d just been really tired.  But now, I’m getting sick.  First thing in the morning.  Then again a couple of hours later.  And then again, and again.  Even woke up a few times in the middle of the night, just to get sick.  I don’t know which is worse: loosing your lunch, or spitting up bile.

 

Crackers and Ginger Ale, they say.  It will make you feel better.

 

 

Yea, maybe when you have the flu.

 

Usually, I love Canada Dry Ginger Ale.  It’s always been a favorite, sick or not.  But after that first time you get sick after drinking it… it’s enough to make you not want to even look at it.

 

It’s summer still, the weather is still pretty warm, but I tried making soup.  Ahhh, no.

 

This is normal though, I should be sick for a week or 2, then it will be gone and I can enjoy the rest of my pregnancy.

 

Thinking back to my first 3, I was sick with Samantha during the 10th/11th week.  It was exam week.  I was graduating on Saturday, and we were saying our final goodbyes to Steve’s Grandma Lucy on Sunday.  It was a bad time to be sick, but I wasn’t that sick.

 

With Emmalee, I honestly didn’t know I was pregnant with her until I was 12 weeks, there was no morning sickness.

 

With Steven, I did have about 2 weeks of being sick around the 8 week mark, but it was really just in the morning.

 

So this should pass soon… but why does it feel so different this time?

Sociably Surviving Hyperemesis

I turned 30 on August 7.

I found out I was pregnant on August 14.  Even on my birthday, I knew.

I knew something wasn’t quite right.  Why was I so tired?  Why was I so weak?  Why was I feeling sea-sick while standing still?  The answer became clear after I took that lovely at home test.

To be honest, as much as I wanted one more baby, I wasn’t ready.  My husband was transitioning into a new job, we were entering into a new season in our life.  Heck, our 3 children were now all in school.  It took a few days for it to sink in:  Here I am, 30 years old, having what will probably be my last baby.

Exciting and frightening all at the same time.

Of course, I had to call my doctor right away.  I was diagnosed with POTS earlier in the year, and after having 3 babies while dealing with NCS, I was scared to think what these added conditions might do to the pregnancy.

At 8 weeks pregnant, I went to the doctor, and came back with a prescription for Zofran, which had worked wonderfully with my first pregnancies.  I mean, for them, I was sick for a couple of weeks, max.

So why wasn’t it doing anything?  Why was I still so nauseous?  I mean, I wasn’t getting really sick yet, just here and there, but I was so nauseous I couldn’t eat anything, and drinking anything made it worse…

It became quite clear, early in this pregnancy, that this was not going to be “normal”.

What is hyperemesis gravidarum?


Depending on what resources you look at, some will list it as “Morning Sickness lasting through the entire pregnancy.”  Others will list it as “Severe.”  But what make HG what it truly is, is when a woman is dehydrated and losing weight in the pregnancy, putting herself and her baby at risk.  Only 0.5%-2% of pregnancies will receive this diagnosis.  And yes, the condition can be life threatening.  Which is why moms need to know that “really bad morning sickness” is a big deal, and not to be taken lightly: if you go a day without being able to keep any food or drinks down, call your OB! And if someone tells you to “toughen up,” remember, it’s all about the baby!

So, why am I writing this? 

Because, hyperemesis gravidarum  is not widely know, and hardly understood.  Many women who suffer from it often don’t get the support they need, from the people around them, and sometimes even their physicians.

Why did I wait so long to start writing?

Well, actually, I didn’t.  I just waited to publish.  HG can be very dangerous, for mother and baby; my husband and I waited until we had a few ultrasounds in to make sure the baby was OK before we went public with my pregnancy.  (We got a lot of flack from some people, mainly our prayer warrior friends, for not telling them sooner.  Sorry – you can blame Steve!)  But at 20 weeks, we saw our precious baby and knew it was OK to share our news.

What will you be reading?

Well, I’ll probably start with some older writings, giving a background and my experiences the first 20 weeks, then catch up to where things are now.

Being of the Christian faith, prayer has been a large part of my journey.  I’m told daily “We’re praying for you,” and often I feel bad when I say my condition hasn’t improved.  In my moments of weakness, I cried out “Why am I going through this?  Is this just another attack, is something great coming that the enemy doesn’t want me to do?  Or is there a lesson that I need to learn?  And God’s response to me has been “Yes, something great is coming.  And yes, there is a lesson; but it’s not for you to learn.”  I don’t know what that means.  Perhaps someone will come in to my life that I will guide through this.  Maybe my daughters will also develop this condition.

Or maybe there is some mom out there right now, scared and confused, feeling alone and disregarded because of their “morning sickness” that just won’t go away.  Fellow mom – you ARE NOT alone!

Two Teeth in One Day

My youngest child (for now), my little man, my premie baby.  He’s all grown up now, he’s lost his 2 front teeth.   Less than 10 hours apart.

I woke up to my kids screaming; I thought something was wrong.  Pregnant women don’t usually move as quickly as I did.  So they came running to me.  And there it was, my little guy, holding his first baby tooth.

When his sisters lost their teeth, they were loose for over a month.  The adult teeth were actually growing in behind the baby teeth (it was actually kinds weird, I’d never seen that before.)  And they lost their first (and second) tooth just around their 6th birthdays

But for him, a few days of wigglers, and it was out.  He said he touched it with his tongue and it just fell out.  A whole month earlier than his sisters did.

At dinner that night, I asked him how his other tooth felt.  It was barely hanging on.  So I told him to get me a tissue.  I didn’t even have to pull.  It just fell out.

So now, my baby boy, my sickly little premie, my first child to need stitches and surgery, is without his front teeth.

 

Dealing With Mean Girls

Third Grade

That’s when it really started for me.  Something about 8 and 9-year-old kids, especially girls, that this age is when they try to test the power of control over others.

I’d experienced it for myself, and now I’m starting to see it affecting my daughter.

I’d been made fun of for the clothes that I wore, how long my hair was, my slight Boston accent, stupid petty things.  And yet, it really affected me.  No matter how hard I’d try to ignore it, I couldn’t avoid it.  It continued through junior high and high school; I couldn’t avoid it.

And now it’s my daughter’s turn.  She was telling us about a situation, and she told us she tried to talk to the girl, but it sounded like she was trying to dish it back, and failing at it.  She was being made fun of because of how she wears her hair, and because she did Bible Quizzing.

I sat and talked with her, trying not to cry.  I told her that just because that girl might like the headbands with lots of sparkles and big bows, doesn’t mean she has to.  They don’t stay in her hair very well.  And if it’s “too long” (as I was often teased for), maybe she’s jealous because her mom cuts her hair short.  My daughter has hair that most women swoon over, asking to borrow her for a little while to take to their colorist so they can get color just like hers.

My daughter is not athletic… she’s tried sports, but they’re just not her thing.  She’s not a bad runner though, but she doesn’t want to be a runner.  She likes music and reading.  I’m not going to force her into team sports unless she wants to try it.  But she loves Bible Quizzing.  She’s proud of the work that she’s done.  But in a public school, she doesn’t get an opportunity to share her experiences and talents.  Other kids who aren’t active in a church don’t see this as a real activity.  She should be proud of her hard work, and even if the kids at school don’t recognize her accomplishments, I know many parents who are.

As she was getting ready for school today, I told her that if someone is trying to say something to bring you down, just walk away.  If they continue bothering you, and it’s hard to ignore them, just pray for them; because even if they don’t seem likable at that moment, Jesus still loves them.

As a mom, who was in her shoes, I just want to protect her.  But most importantly, I need to let her grow and handle things on her own.

Have you had to deal with mean girls?  How did you deal with it?

Our First Surgery

My little guy was the first of my kids to need a procedure done.

He had his adenoids out a few days ago, though we’ve been planning for this for a couple of months (delayed due to weather and pregnancy issues.)

Aside from his awful snoring, and possible sleep apnea, his speech and hearing was greatly affected by the 85% blockage his adenoids had caused.  We’d been slowly preparing him for this day, calling it a procedure, and not a surgery.  I don’t know why, that just sounded better to us.  When we did use the word “surgery,” it was our daughters who freaked out, not him.

The night before we let him stay up to hydrate and snack.  I think he outlasted daddy, who fell asleep on the couch at 10,  Steven went to bed shortly after.  The next morning, we let him stay in bed until we had to go, we didn’t want to have to worry about him asking for breakfast.  But he didn’t, thankfully.

He brought his favorite puppy with him, and when we were checking in, they even gave puppy a wrist band.  He hated having to put on the hospital pajamas, and when they said he couldn’t wear his underwear, just incase he had an accident, he asked if he had to wear a baby diaper (so cute).

The nurses all adored him.  Anytime someone new came in the room, they’d ask “Can you tell me you’re whole name?” and all giggled when he did… something about the way he said “The Third” I think.  The anesthesiologist came in to talk with us, again, he was quite impressed with how thorough the answers to his questions Steven gave him.

The anesthesiologist gave me some advice regarding the baby… he could see I was having contractions.  When I told him I was only 31 weeks he explained why the steroid shots are good, and that if I can make it past at least 32 weeks, baby will be perfectly fine.  He filled it with a lot of technical stuff, which I tried to look like I was listening to, but I was here for Steven today.

Steven started to freak out a bit after all the nurses left, and then he heard “Dr. Duck.”  Dr. Merrill was absolutely fabulous, and made Steven feel so much better.  And me, for that matter.  I hated saying goodbye to my guy, but I knew he was in good hands.

And quick hands too.  The procedure was done in less than 20 minutes.  I was so anxious to see him.  I guess when it was over and they stopped the anesthesia, he woke up and freaked out.  So they gave him more “giggle gas” to calm him down.

When they brought me to him, he looked so sad.  The nurses were trying to feed him a mashed up popsicle, but he didn’t want it.  He just wanted to go home.  And he was mad that there was no TV – the nurses told him in pre-op that he could watch TV.

He got sick as he was being wheeled out to the car, which I was afraid of.  But also kinda glad it didn’t happen in the car.

He just relaxed and watched cartoons for a few hours, we both napped for a bit (stressful day for a pregnant mom).  When he woke up, with the exception of a raspy voice, he was almost normal.  I took the advice of friends and programmed his Tylenol/Motrin doses for every 3 hours, on the dot, and that seemed to keep any pain away.  He wasn’t 100%, but was playing with his toys, and looking at books and moving around just fine.

Two days later, not so much.  I really wanted to take my daughters to their JBQ tournament (Thank you Dillingham Family!), but due to my condition and Steven, hubby wouldn’t let me take the almost 4 hour drive.  Which, as much as I hated it, ended up being a good thing.  Poor guy did not have a good morning, and refused to get out of bed for several hours.  I kept up with his meds, but it took a while to get him up and going.

Now, therapy foods:  Room temperature definitely worked best for him.  I had purchased PediaSure, pudding and Jell-o, as well as Go-Gurts and Ice-Pops.  He really only wanted the pudding, Jell-o and PediaSure.  Oh, and my Shakes from New-Trition (though I made him his own at home without ice).  He really wanted a grilled cheese sandwich, but I was told not to let him eat until day 4 or 5.  He didn’t like that so much.

We went in to this procedure knowing that his adenoids were huge, and that was affecting the number, and severity, of his ear infections, which in turn affected hearing and speech.  Within the first day, we noticed improvements.  The first time I heard him say “Samantha” and not “Saman-ta” I almost cried.

Thanks again to Dr. Merrill for taking such amazing care of my son.

My Issues with Common Core Curriculums

Common Core

It’s a phrase that most parents I know have come to dread.

I understand that it’s just a level of standards that they children need to learn by the end of the year, and how the teachers teach it is their discretion.

However…  The programs that appear to have been made available to the teachers are, in my honest opinion, ridiculous.

I’m annoyed at the fact that my daughters rarely come home with homework.  They can’t build a study routine when they don’t have studying to do.  We limit screen time, so these practice websites are not my top choice.  I purchased math workbooks to supplement, but it’s not enough.  And when they do come home with homework, we are overwhelmed with questions, because it’s a printed page, and there is no text-book to help them find the answers.

My biggest critique is of this math program; it doesn’t cater to my eldest daughter’s learning style.  2+2=4.  It always will.  She hates having to learn all these other devices to come up with the same answer.   And the terminology they want the kids to learn.  It’s all “grouping;” not carrying over or borrowing.  If you want to make it make sense, use terms that a kid will understand.

My eldest is learning multiplication now.  I don’t remember learning it until the fourth grade, she’s in third.  But some of the stuff she’s brought home looks like algebra, which isn’t a bad thing, necessarily.  But the problems are written poorly:

2 x 2 + 2 = __

So, does anyone see the problem with this question?

(2 x 2) + 2  = 6

2 x (2 + 2)  = 8

So which is it that they’re asking for?  I had her write it both ways… A week later, I haven’t seen the graded assignment, so I don’t know which was the answer they were looking for.

Then we get things like this:

This is a practice test.  There is no explanation that each X=1 “creature.”  Then, what if the child doesn’t know that an ant has 6 legs or the spider has 8 legs, because they haven’t covered insects in science.

For my husband to see homework like this and say “Maybe it is time to look into private school,” it’s serious.

I know from the parent-teacher conferences a few months ago that their teachers aren’t happy with this curriculum, but don’t mind the standards.  Both my girls have exhibited exceptionally high standardized test scores (which is what schools ALL ABOUT, right?) and read/comprehend 2 grade levels above where they are.

But they are bored; not feeling challenged, but confused by the “silly work.”

Seriously, though… homeschooling and private school are starting to look a lot better now…

Dr. PetPlay is in the House

We recently got a few new iPad games for our kids, that had been free during the Christmas Season.

Dr. PetPlay was one of these games (usually $2.99).

My middle child loves animals (especially cats) and would like to be a vet when she grows up.  So this game was PERFECT for her.  And her enormous collection of stuffed animals made for a full waiting room.

The kids have spent their days being snowed in taking care of their animals.  I was doing some work when I heard an awful cry coming from “The Doctor’s Office.”  It was my son.  And his beloved puppy Shadow (named after my parent’s dog) had not one, but two broken legs!  Thank you creators of Dr. PetPlay for that image for my son.

The tears on his face were real, and the sadness in his voice.  But Dr. Emmalee told him that with some band aids and rest, puppy would be all better.

We’ve recently been bombarded with animals who needed homes, temporary and permanent.  After the snowstorm left an animal shelter without heat, my heart broke and I wanted to help.  But I also know the kids wouldn’t want to give the animal back, and we’re not really in a place to be taking in any animals, especially cats or untrained puppies.

So we’ll continue on with the stuffed animals, and visiting adopt-a-thons, waiting for that time when a pet will be a part of our family…. many, many years from now.

Tummy Aches Return

In the past, we’d dealt with tummy troubles for our eldest.  Now it’s my middle child’s turn.

E has been having tummy issues for months, so after discovered the pattern of right after every meal, we cut everything out and went vegan and gluten-free for a few weeks.  We slowly added everything back, and found the culprit: dairy.

So we invested in the lactose pills for her to take at meal times, and started giving her pro-biotic pills daily.  As long as she takes her meds, she’s fine.  For the most part, the school has been accommodating to her, giving her dairy free options.  But in the case of snacks from classmates, she’s often needing reminders to take a pill before she eats it – even dairy in baked goods upset her tummy.

I’ve been researching natural ways to help her deal with it, even been given some seemingly contradictory advice.  But the consensus is to just ELIMINATE all dairy for 3 to 6 months, then introduce it.

That means soy/almond milk alternatives, which can be pretty pricy.  She was mostly upset about not being able to have sour cream on her tacos… her favorite part.

Any other Lactose Free families out there with suggestions for me?

First Published 1/14/14

Snomageddon 2014

Well, 2014 has certainly been fun!

Living in the midwest, particularly our part of the midwest, snow can be hit or miss.  We always seem to be on the cusp of any snow storm that has potential to close the county.

Not this year!

Winter Storms Henry and Ion shut us in, even giving the kids a few extra days off of school from Christmas/Winter break.  The hardest part is dealing with the temperatures: The kids WANT to go play in the now, but it’s -7 degrees at 1:00 in the afternoon: not really happening.

All bundled up for 5 minutes of play

Snow has kept them in for the most of the past 2 weeks, and they’re getting stir crazy in the house.  Wasn’t it just a couple of weeks ago when we could go for a walk?  Now we can’t even step outside the house.

It was so cold today that we tried the whole “toss boiling water into the air to make snow” thing.  Yup, it totally worked.  And it was awesome!

The girls were able to get ahead on their bible quizzing verses, and our son is enjoying all the toys he got for Christmas. But they really miss their friends and having someone other than their sibling to play with.

My husband had shown them the infamous “Bread and Milk” YouTube videos, and our theatrical children wanted to make their own.

And so, we did.

 

We were in fact running low on milk, but the Level 3 Emergency that we were under (making it illegal to be on the roads) was going to be lifted soon.

Regardless, the kids had a blast making this, and I crack up every time I see my son on the screen.