Finding Something To Do When There’s Nothing You Can Do About It

I shared my daughter’s story a few weeks ago.  The response was amazing.  So many people in the community stepping up to donate yarn, money, or their time, to make scarves for the homeless in our community.  It was a burden that could have only come from God.

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I’ve had several people in my network approach me about taking it further – start a business? Start a non-profit? Do it as a hobby so they’re no pressure?  For me, having the goals in mind is what helped us to make 120 scarves in 5 week (not including 25+ were donated to our goal).

She wanted to take it further, but we really didn’t know what it looked like.  Until now.

At her bible study this week, she was informed that a classmate was diagnosed with cancer.  11 years old… my heart broke for the family, and I pray for healing and comfort in this time.  Samantha is a sensitive soul, and didn’t quite know how to process this news.  She was young when my father was sick, but has seen the toll it took on his body.  She struggled with how a middle school child gets such a scary disease.

Instead of dwelling on the sadness of it, we prayed about it.  We prayed for healing. We prayed for peace.  We prayed for the words to say when we see this friend.  And for God to give guidance.

It struck me, while in the car, coming home from church.  A local group, The Victory Center.  I’d had a meeting there, seeing how I could help with a marketing endeavor a few years ago.  I remember sitting in the waiting room, and there was a “giving tree” with hats.  I mentioned it to Samantha, who’s face lit up.  “Can we make some?”

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Making hats is not like arm knitting scarves – they take more time and attention.  But of course I said yes.  We have some yarn, and we have some looms.  This weekend we’re going to attempt to learn to crochet.

We don’t have a goal in mind, yet, but again God has placed this in our hearts… How could we not answer.

Some Goodness in the World

Have you ever just looked at the world around you and though – yuck.

However, we have a future to look towards, and prayers are the only thing that can get us through.  We must find some goodness in every day in order to get by, because the world is so full of ugliness.

I look to my children.  My beautiful children.  I feel so blessed to be able to be their mom.  Kids will be kids, they all have bad moments  (we all do) in which they need to learn from.  But overall, I’ve been blessed with some amazing kids.

Today I’m going to share a story about my eldest daughter.

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At a young age, I could see a sensitivity to her; a gentle heart, an empathetic spirit.  A person of those qualities are precious, but can be broken so easily.  I should know, I’m one of them.   I’ve found it important to give her opportunities to let those traits develop, because there is a fine line between leader and a boss; a fine line between caring and giving, and being taken advantage of.

When she began middle school this year, I encouraged her to join every club she could.  Give a it a try, go to a few meetings, and she if it was a fit.  She’s loved everything that she’s been a part of.  Particularly, she’s found great friends and connections in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and the Sylvania Community Action Team, Junior (SCAT Jr).

The FCA meeting is before school – 7:15am – and for a non-morning person, she quickly gets up and ready to go.  She was so nervous for the first meeting, didn’t think she’d have any friends there.  She was right, she didn’t.  But that meeting, a devotional about being the hands and feet of God, stirred something in her.  She began to invite friends to come to the next weeks meeting, and a few did.

A few days later she attended the first meeting of Sylvania Community Action Team, Junior.  At that meeting, they discussed was that they, even as middle school children, could be an impact on their community.  Kids mentioned giving money to charity, participating in walks/runs.  But she came home, and shared with the family her heart – to make scarves and donate them to the local homeless shelter, Cherry Street Mission Ministries.

As parents we were proud of her, but I was so humbled by her heart, and her listening to the voice of God in her ear.   She told us she had a goal of 60 scarves, but maybe 100 if she could get some friends involve.  All before Thanksgiving, 2 months away.

Then came the task of getting to 60 scarves. She knew how to use a loom and finger weave, but looms can take a while, and finger weaving can only produce so much of a scarf (mostly the infinity variety).  So we had to learn some new techniques – arm knitting.  Honestly, I can’t tell you which of the various YouTube tutorials made the process easiest to learn (casting on is tricky if being taught the wrong way), but once I figured it out, we took off running.

Then came the expense of the yarn.  We made several scarves and sold them to purchase more yarn, some donated money for the cause, and some donated yarn.  We were so thankful for it.

Between Samantha, her sister and I, we made 60 scarves in about 4 weeks, 15 were donated by friends, and another 10 were made by friends of the girls at a knit-in that we hosted.  85 scarves in all were donated on November 8 to the Cherry Street Mission.

But the story doesn’t end there…

Samantha’s goal, her mission, has had an impact on many who have heard her story.   Thanks to friend and neighbor, the Sylvania Arts Commission (who donated a large amount of yarn) put a plea out to help Samantha reach and exceed 100 scarves before Thanksgiving.  Samantha’s story had been shared dozens of times in only 8 hours, and our community has stepped up to make her “small” goal into something bigger than we ever imagined!

 

PRODUCT REVIEW: ANGEL BABY TRAVEL CASE

Disclaimer: I received this product at a discount for my honest review.

I don’t travel much, especially air travel.

But I do have for kids, one under the age of 2, and anything to help me keep my life more organized is very helpful.

So when I saw the Angel Baby Travel Case, it intrigued me.  Instead of just tossing a stroller that just rolled through mud into a heavy-duty washable bag – where has this been the last 10 years?  Why am I just now finding this!  The Angel Baby Travel Case has been very helpful.

It is a bit larger than I need for my umbrella stroller, but not quite big enough for my full size stroller.  It’s been very handy.

Books, Books and More Books

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I’ve always loved to read.  Always.  As a kid, I’d be able to read a couple books a month.  Perhaps even a week.  I’m glad to have passed a love of books to my kids.  The problem that I’m starting to face is finding books that are age appropriate, but challenging for my kids.

My daughters were both reading before kindergarten, and now at 9 and 10 years old read at 8th and 9th grade levels.  So the challenge begins.  There are plenty of books available for them at their age group, and do read them – quickly.  But finding a book to challenge them that’s age appropriate – not so easy.

So here are my opinions on a few of the popular books being read in middle and high schools these days.

My eldest came home from school a few weeks ago with a permission slip to read The Hunger Games.  I laughed.  Are you kidding me?  Kids killing kids, and graphically!  I’d read the books years ago, but thought them to violent for my young lady.  She’d read all the Harry Potter books, and there is some violence and death… but somehow it’s not the same.

She read the first series of Percy Jackson – I liked that the characters were closer to her age, and educational at the same time as entertaining.   Not sure about the whole “send-12-year-olds-on-life-threatening-quests-without-adult-guidance” thing, but hey, it’s fiction.    As a Christian, there were a few concerns about the fact that the Greek gods parented all these kids with different partners.  When she read it, I don’t know that it quite stuck in her head.  At the same time, she has friends who have divorced parents, so maybe she just assumed that was the case with the Greek gods and their children.  The second series The Heroes of Olympus, however, I would not let her read.  The characters were older, all in relationships, and some behaviors a 9 or 10 year old girl doesn’t need to be exposed to yet.

She came home with another book request – Cinder.   So I read the whole Lunar Chronicles collection over a few weeks.  I enjoyed them – I’ve always loved a different perspective on fairy tales.  But I’m still not sure if it’s OK for my girls.  A few offhanded references to “escorts” and quite a bit of graphic (werewolf) violence make me nervous to let her read them.  Maybe just the first one – maybe.

I’ve reached out to teachers and librarians.  There were a lot of “Let me look into that” comments.  But so far, nothing that has peaked her interest that would also challenge her.     I’m always open to suggestions – so please send your kids’ favorite books my way!

Well, nothing recent.  More on the classics later.

How to Behave Around A Pregnant Woman Part 3

Sometimes people have a hard time reading others, so often times ask the wrong questions without knowing that it’s inappropriate or an uncomfortable topic.  Others, just don’t care…

Now again, this is just my opinion, with input from some friends, but I think most pregnant women would agree.  Here is part 3 of my list.
Don’t Ask  “Are you going to quit your job?”  Wow, so just because I’m a mom I can’t work?  I was a stay at home mom for a couple of years, and it was ok… I loved being home with my kids, but didn’t have any other stay at home mom friends at the time, so I was lonely.   Stay at home moms need adult conversation, which they don’t often get.  Since I wasn’t outgoing, making new friends was hard.  When I went to work part time I was able to be a mom, but also help support my family and feel like a productive adult at the same time.  Now, I work at home doing freelance work (and trying to blog).

Don’t Ask “Is this your last?”  Why is it any of your business?  I’m very proud of how my 3 children are maturing and developing, and I welcome the challenge of adding 1 more child to our family.  While the fear of having another scares me because of all the complications, if the Good Lord shall bless us, I’ll welcome the new baby with love.

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Don’t judge a woman’s birth plan.  If I could have all natural home births, I probably would try it.  But my pregnancies have each had their complications that I feel safest in a hospital.  What works for one mom doesn’t not necessarily work for the next.  If she wants an epidural, she’s getting an epidural.  If she doesn’t, she doesn’t.  If she’s having a scheduled C-Section, or being induced, there are reasons for it.  If you can’t say anything nice or encouraging, don’t say anything at all.

Don’t Ask “Are you going to breast feed?”  I cringe when I hear that question, especially around guys.   Can’t you use the term “nurse the baby” instead?  But again, that’s a women’s choice.  And nursing a baby can be really difficult!  I wasn’t able to nurse my daughters for more than a couple of months.  I was given extra resources when my son was in the NICU, which really helped me be able to nurse for 9 months.  But seriously, I’m the mother, the baby will be fed in a manner that works for me, and for him/her.

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of my list

How To Behave Around A Pregnant Woman, Part 2

How To Behave Around A Pregnant Woman, Part 2

As stated in a previous post, people now need baby-step by baby-step instructions for everyday interactions.  Especially around pregnant women.Now again, this is just my opinion, with input from some friends, but I think most pregnant women would agree.  Here is part 2 of my list.

Having a baby bump does NOT give you permission to rub my belly.  I know I mentioned this last post, but here are a few other reasons…

Babies in the womb are asleep 20 out of 24 hours a day… so you’re probably just feeling my belly.
Germs.  I don’t know where you’ve been, and you don’t know what my other kids have sneezed and coughed all over my mid-section.  Stay healthy, keep your hands to yourself.  It’s a nasty cold/flu season right now… I CAN’T get sick!

If you see a pregnant woman trying to dig her car out of the snow, help her.  I mean, common courtesy should dictate that if you see ANYONE stuck in the snow, you should help.  And a husband SHOULD have already dug his pregnant wife’s car out, and made sure the driveway was clear for her. But in the case that the snowplows pack 18 inches of snow at the end of a driveway, help a girl out!

If you see a pregnant woman walking quickly in the general direction of a bathroom, don’t try to stop her for a conversation.  I mean, common sense, if anyone is rushing to a bathroom, let them be.  But if you see a pregnant woman walking rather quickly, she’s either about to be sick or just got kicked in the bladder and really can’t stop to chit-chat.

Don’t ask “Are you sure it’s just 1 baby in there?”  The average woman should gain about 30lbs when they are pregnant.  Some “pop” earlier than others; sometimes the baby rests a certain way and for that moment Mommy looks bigger than she did 15 minutes earlier.  Especially if the mom has posted pictures of her 1 beautiful baby’s ultrasound, don’t ask if we’re sure we’re not expecting 2….  Women are vain (sorry, it’s true), and Mommyrexia is unfortunately a growing trend.  Help the mommy-to-be’s that you know to feel comfortable in their ever changing body: watch your words.

Gymboree Sale On Now!

Shots Shots Shots!

Week 17 AKA:  my worst week yet.

Now that I’m not getting fluids through the IV, I really needed to try drinking more.  On a good day, I might get 20 oz in.  But I really needed 40-60 at least!  The Zofran helped me from getting really sick, but didn’t prevent the nausea.  The problem with it, while I could take 8mg every 8 hours, it really only gave me relief for 3 to 4 hours before it faded away.  It made for some unpleasant days at work.  The last thing I wanted was for anyone else to have to be around me when I was getting sick.

The doctor has tried to get me a prescription for Diclegis, but the insurance wouldn’t cover it.  They had some samples to give me, hoping that the insurance will cover it now, since we’ve exhausted every other option.  It took a few days, but they finally approved.

Because my 3 other children were born 2.5, 3.5 and 5.5 weeks early, the odds of baby #4 being early were pretty good.  With my son spending 10 days in the NICU, and then 2 months on an apnea monitor, I wanted to be sure to do whatever I could do to prevent another premie.

So to be proactive with this pregnancy, my doctor ordered me P17 (progesterone) weekly injections.  Yup, shots.  Every week.  For 18-20 weeks.  In the hip.  Every week.  And the medication is thick.  And it hurts.  Every week.  For the entire week until it’s time for the next one.  Granted, everyone has different pain tolerances, and my new nurse Kate said some patients say one side hurts more than the other.  But it is not pleasant.  However, the alternatives are worse, so I’ll stick with my shots.

Aside from the pain the first few days after the initial injection, I noticed my nausea wasn’t as uncomfortable.  I wasn’t getting sick at the thought of food, so I began to eat more.  Beverages were still a different story, but I was actually able to chew food for the first time since before I found out I was pregnant.  No more over-cooked pasta and mashed potatoes!

I wasn’t really sure if it was the shots or the Diclegis, so I tested it out by skipping the pills.  Bad idea.  The combination of the progesterone, Diclegis, and my Zofran all were working together.  Take anything out of the equation and I’d be asking for it!  So, now I know.

I feel really thirsty though.  I tried to drink, not just sipping like I had be, but properly drink a small glass of water.  Bad idea.  I tried juice, it stayed down, but I felt “swishy.”  From what I’m reading in a few support sites, many moms dealing with HG can’t tolerate plain water…  I wonder why that is…

Is A Baby Shower OK For Baby #4?

Going in to this pregnancy, we’d gotten rid of just about everything.

We have some outfits for each of the kids, our favorites, and the ones not ruined by spit-up. 


Any toys we’d gotten rid of because of concerns for the chemicals in the plastic.  


We don’t have a crib anymore, and the old baby carseat is long since expired.  


High chair had it’s last meal a few years ago…

So now here we are, expecting another baby.

We’ve had several friends ask us if we were going to have a baby shower… and several people tell me that if I’m thinking about having one, to not.

So I don’t know…. The last baby shower I had was for Samantha, almost 9 years ago.

Anyone who knows me, knows I love to have a party; why not have one for just the baby.  I mean, we still have a few clothes, and I’ve been slowly stocking up on diapers (very slowly).

I mean, a diaper party isn’t too unreasonable, is it?  Or a casserole party?  I mean, I’m having a hard enough time feeding my family with my being so sick, what’s it going to be like once the baby’s here?  Plenty of people have asked if they could help, and we’ve accepted, but then it slipped their mind or life happened…

http://www.toysrus.com/registry/

Registry #: 52002962

Hubby and I had a few evenings to ourselves while the kids were visiting my parents, so we went and did a baby registry.  Not really planning to have a shower; it was more to see all the things that we didn’t have… it’s  a long list.   We did sign up for the Babies R Us V.I.B. (Very Important Baby) program – where was this when my other kids were little?  Friends and family can contribute to a gift card, that can be used for diapers, formula and baby food, and then Toys ‘R’ Us adds an additional 5%.

So that is the question: to have baby shower or to not have a baby shower…?  This the the response I got from a 30+ mom group on WhatToExpect.com.  Still not sure what to do…

Off the IV

November 2013

Week 16 brought a few more firsts for us.

Steve was able to feel the baby for the first time… it was an encouragement for him to know that the baby was ok.  We still haven’t made the pregnancy “Facebook Official” yet, in fact, only a handful of people know about the pregnancy at this point.  But that moment resonated with Steve, and he even posted “Felt something magical last night” on Facebook.  Call it hormones, but it choked me up when I saw that.

I began eating a bit more.  Soft, bland foods, still, but I was eating.  Scrambled eggs for breakfast, pasta for dinner.

This week, after church on Sunday, while my husband was at work I took the kids to lunch at Salsaritas (Gotta love Kids Eat Free days!).  I actually had a bit of energy to drive there, but the line was super long, and I regretted it.  But standing in line, a lady with a small child in a sling came up behind me, and said “Sorry you’ve got the PICC Line.  I had it too.”  While waiting to order, we chatted.  She had to have her IV for the entire pregnancy.  After a few months, her doctor let her unhook at night.  She told me that she too had trouble with people not understanding the symptoms.  It was encouraging for me to see that she had a healthy baby after all that stress that she’d been through.

Again: Let me break it down for you.  Have you ever had a stomach flu? or food poisoning?  It took a lot out of you, right?  You felt like you spent all day in the bathroom, right?  And the last thing you wanted was to eat or drink something, in fear of it coming back up.  But the relief you felt knowing that it’s only going to last a few days…  Yea, imagine all that, except you don’t know when it’s going to stop.  That’s HG.

Oddly enough, my nurse was off that week for my weekly dressing change, but her nurse was filling in.  She was also sharing with me some of the issues she’s seen with her patients. Again, it was really nice to know I wasn’t alone.

This week when my PICC Line dressing was changed, something felt off.  Usually, it doesn’t hurt, but later that day, I started feeling some pain.  I texted my regular nurse, and she came over the next night.  My arm (which is measured weekly) had swollen over the 24 hours from the dressing change.  And was very warm to the touch.  She sent me to the ER.

After 3 hours of waiting, blood tests and an ultrasound of my arm, I got my diagnosis.  Blood Clot!  Yay.  So my PICC Line had to come out.  I had 10 days of antibiotics to take, plus heating pads to the swollen arm, but no IV, no fluids.

As annoyed as the bag made me at times, I needed it.  At least I knew that on my worst days, that baby was getting what it needed.  Now, I don’t have that comfort.

The days following the IV coming out were some of the worst.  My nurse told me that many HG moms start to feel relief after week 16, but that week, it didn’t seem I was going to be one of those moms.

Water Weight & Extreme Fatigue

12 Weeks…

 

We were really hoping to only have the IV for a couple of weeks.

 

After 2 weeks, there was no way Bridget was going to let me off them.  I was still getting sick several times a day.

 

I began to eat one small meal a day, in addition to my Herbalife Monster Cookie Shake at New-Trition for breakfast: Mashed potatoes.  And not even made from russet or yukon golds… no powdered dehydrated mashed potatoes.  Seriously.  And I became kind of ‘brand specific”.  Idahoan, to be specific.  They were the only brand that tasted ‘good’ and would actually stay in my belly.

 

Life with an IV isn’t pleasant.  You have this thing in your arm, all day every day.  And you get this backpack.  It’s not attractive, so you can’t really pass it off as anything but what it is.  And it’s heavy!  The 4L bag weighed about 20 lbs, and after 2 weeks I was decreased to 3L, in hopes I would feel the need to drink more.  The 3L bag weighs about 15 lbs.  And you have to carry it with you wherever you go!

 

 

 

I adjusted my schedule so I changed the IV at night, so it wouldn’t be as heavy during the day.   But here’s the thing about having 3L of fluids pumped in your system everyday: in addition to the trips to the ladies room to get sick, you have to empty your bladder a dozen times a day too.  Imagine getting up at 3AM to go potty, and having to carry a 15 lb backpack with you… seriously.  Try it sometime you have to get up in the middle of the night – carry two 8 lb bowling balls in a bag and then tell me “It’s no big deal.”

 

The fluids helped me make sure the baby was OK, but there was still plenty of fear and doubt that baby was OK.  Then there’s the guilt about taking care of the rest of your family.  I was so sick that I had no strength to do anything.  Making dinner was hard for me to do.  I was thankful for my husband, and the care that he gave me, us.  But there were nights that he’d work late, and I’d be on my own to make dinner.  It was hard.  There were plenty of nights where all they had were PB&J and fruit.

 

I was so thankful for our friend Jenn making us dinner.  Though I wasn’t able to eat it, my kids did.  And there was plenty for dinner the next night, too.  We hadn’t even asked for help, she just went out of her way to help us out.  We are so thankful.

 

One thing that I’d encourage any mom dealing with HG to do, is not be afraid to ask for help, and don’t be embarrassed when it’s offered.  You are growing a person!  And you will occasionally need help.  So if someone offers, accept.