Thursday, May 17, 2012

Check this out "Wake Up Moms"....

Thursday, April 19, 2012


As I sat down to write this the first time, I was preparing for my second D&C and fourth miscarriage. So,  I thought if anyone ever read this, readers beware. I was not about to right one of the flowery, hopeful stories.  Instead, I was determind to write a real story. I was determined that if I was going to tell my story, it would not be one of those fuzzy articles you read  in a woman's magazine, a few paragraphs about a woman’s journey to motherhood through miscarriage that ends breezily and happily.  In those articles, the issue of miscarriage is seemingly glossed over and all you can really focus on are the pictures of the mothers now happy, surrounded by their perfect babies. No, I did not want to write one of those stories. This story was not going to be about happy endings.  This story was going to be about miscarriage in all its painful glory. That was my plan at least…

If you have suffered a miscarriage, you may have had a D&C or dilation and currtegge. It is when the doctor has to surgically remove the fetus and placenta because it is no longer living. The procedure is done in the hospital but is quick. You are home within hours, belly empty and heart full. I had my first D&C over almost 2 years ago. I was 8 weeks pregnant, sick as dog, until one day I suddenly felt better. I went in for a regularly scheduled ultrasound, and I’ll never forget the silence in the room when the nurse was examining my baby. You could hear a pin drop. Right then I knew something was wrong. She excused herself and returned with my doctor. He said, “Let’s see if we can find a heartbeat on this little peanut.” There was none. He said he was sorry. I waited until he left the room and balled my eyes out. How could this happen to me? And to make things worse, my husband, who was always there for every appointment and completely supportive, missed that one appointment, so I was staring at the image of the dead baby inside of me alone.  The next day I was at the hospital with my husband and mom by my side – both looking at me anxiously - recuperating from my D&C with “grief” literature in my hand and wondering what to do next.

My husband and I mourned for months. My family and friends tried their best to console me. It was difficult. When you have a miscarriage, people try to console you and say things like, “It’s so common.” This is true. Miscarriages are very common. Because of today’s technology, sensitive pregnancy tests can find the presence of the pregnancy hormone even before a missed period. This means women are trying to get pregnant are finding out when they have conceived much earlier and thus, those early  miscarriages that were going unnoticed before, mistaken for a late or heavy period, are now discovered. In fact, I’ve read articles that estimate that 25% and even 1/3 of pregnancies end in miscarriage, mostly in the first trimester. Also, when you have a miscarriage you start to become acutely aware of the many of the women that you know that have also suffered this tragedy.  Another thing I heard after the miscarriages was, “Well, at least you have one healthy child.” That is also true. I am truly blessed to have a beautiful, healthy, and if I do say so myself, absolutely adorable, little boy. I appreciate him so much that sometimes I feel guilty for even wanting another child. But don’t I have a right to want another child? Does that erase the pain of losing a baby? Like I said it’s difficult because people just don’t know how to comfort someone who has suffered a miscarriage. I have to say the best thing I heard was “I’m so sorry.” Period. When someone has suffered through this sort of thing, they have lost something inside of them. They just need to hear “I’m sorry” followed by a hug.

Well, we tried again of course.  My second and third miscarriages that followed were early, at around 6 weeks. After the third loss, my doctor started to wonder what was going on. I appeared to be a healthy, 30 year old woman who had previously had a healthy child. So, what was going on? I, too, was worried that something was wrong with me. That’s the thing about miscarriage. Many times, there is no explanation. You’ll read possible explanations such chromosome abnormalities (i.e. genetic issues with the parents), poor nutrition in the mother, immune disorder in the mother, etc., but bottom line is, most of the time, miscarriages are simply mysteries. And after all the testing I went through –and trust me, I went through my fair share of specialists and testing - my miscarriages are still unexplained.

We kept trying but this time, cautiously, anxiously and without much hope. When we had another positive pregnancy test – on my husband’s birthday - we called the doctor with more fear than joy inside of our hearts.  At my first ultrasound, they said they could see a placenta with nothing in it. As always, I immediately googled this while waiting for the doctor (I still don’t know if the internet has been a good or bad thing for me throughout this. Sometimes too much information is not helpful. It just freaks you out). I again fell apart – this time even in front of our doctor and my husband. You would think I would have learned my lesson and would have remained stoic. But the same thoughts were flying through my head. I sobbed to my husband (who would want me to note here that he never missed an appointment again after that one fateful appointment mentioned above), “How could this happen to us?” I did everything I was supposed to do. I took the drugs the doctor gave me to try this pregnancy, which were no picnic. The doctor had put me a low dose of heparin so I had to inject myself in the belly twice a day. (Though we never could determine what caused the miscarriages, the doctor suspected a possible minor immune issue could be causing clotting and thus, my body was not being allowed to hold the baby. The heparin was to thin the blood and prevent the clotting).  I took extra good care of my body before getting pregnant.  I even tried acupuncture and worked at channeling positive energy to my belly, and yet, here I was again - devastated on the crunchy white paper of the doctor’s chair.  My husband tried to be positive when the doctor said maybe they just miscalculated the date and it’s just too early to see anything. I asked for a D&C, so I wouldn’t have to suffer through another physically and emotionally draining and painful miscarriage.  The doctor said to wait, and decided to order a blood test in a week that would test my hormone levels. 

Waiting to hear the results of the test was one of the longest week of our lives. My husband remained hopeful, and I told him that he was in denial, that of course, it was another doomed pregnancy. Visions of the “empty” sac floated in my head daily. My poor husband has dealt with his fair share of my retorts and mood swings during this emotional roller-coaster period of our lives. Even then, though, I knew that we had survived these losses together and that no matter what, we’d remain stronger throughout this ordeal.  

A week later, the doctor’s office called and said that my blood test showed that my hormone levels were doing exactly what they were supposed to be doing, going up. In other words, my body was acting like it’s pregnant.  I still remained cautious. It would be another week before we could go in for another ultrasound to see if there was a baby. The roller coaster continued.
Originally when I started writing this, I thought the moral of this story was that there aren’t always happing endings, life is rough, you make it through graciously, with strength, and with the people you love supporting you through the rough spots. Most importantly, you can’t fight the urge to have hope. As I said in the beginning – this was not going to be a story with a picture-perfect ending. The focus was going to be on the nitty-gritty, the pain of miscarriage. The thesis was going to be about strength and perseverance and a little hope.  Well, it’s been almost a year since I started writing this story and the thesis has pretty much remained the same. And since then, I would not say that the story has taken another path – but maybe a slight detour.  You see, that empty sac? That placenta that didn’t seem to develop? Well, guess what? It did. His name is Ethan. His name means “strength” in Hebrew.

The pregnancy with Ethan was rough – horrible morning sickness, and anxiety like you couldn’t believe. We were so appreciative yet could barely enjoy the pregnancy and were consumed by the hope of getting the baby to a safe age to be born.  It seems all the treatment worked as I neared my last weeks of pregnancy.  The day before Ethan was born, I was following my 3 year old up the only two stairs in our house and I fell and landed flat on my belly. Don’t ask me what caused me to fall like that because it’s beyond me. Although falls at that stage of pregnancy are common and generally don’t cause labor sincer there is plenty of cushion to protect the baby, for me it stimulated labor, and Ethan was born the next morning 5 weeks before his due date.  My doctor thinks the fall saved the baby’s life as he suspected that the placenta may have been weakening and even detaching by that point. Ethan was born healthy at 35 weeks on 8/9/10 after a very exciting birth. So, maybe everything does happen for a reason.

Though the ending has changed some since I started writing this story, my thesis is simple and remains for the most part, unchanged. Miscarriage is so positively gut-wrenching. If you haven’t been through it, you’ll never understand. But if you know someone who has suffered a miscarriage, just be there for her and her partner. When you get pregnant, even at the earliest stage, you can’t help but to get attached to that little being inside of you, and when it’s gone, you truly suffer a loss. It’s real and it’s heartbreaking. If you don’t have support from your loved ones, you absolutely must seek it out. Women are strong but no one should go through this alone.  And the partner could use some support too. Whether you are strong enough to keep trying to get pregnant or to recognize that it’s not in the cards for your body and try some other means of making a family, you have take comfort in the strength of your decision and you have to –absolutely have to - continue to have hope. That’s the kicker, to just know that no matter how the story may end for you, after miscarriage, you must always have hope.  You suffer through the pain and then you try again or you try something else. You hope it’ll stick next time, the stars will align for you, and that the pain will all be worth it in the end.  For us, that little bit of hope paid off. That is my wish for anyone who has suffered such a loss. Just don’t give up on hope.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Another Great Website...Check it Out!

We can't all be vegan...let's face it, we don't really WANT to be vegan, but there IS something to be said for a better, healthier, less processed and more natural diet. More fruit and veggies. Check out some of the recipes:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Study Shows Women Are Better Multitaskers - DUH! But is Multitasking Always a Good Thing?

Ok, whether you are a working Mom or Stay at Home Mom, you know being a Mom is hard work. It's exhausting. I am a working Mom, an attorney with my own firm. Working for myself allows me flexibility to work when I need to, while still being available to my kids. It's great. I can go to the office and get a "break" - you know, pee when I want, eat when I want, talk on the phone without a kid hanging on me - all the stuff you can't do at home with the kiddies. I can also be there for my sons' school programs, playdates, and sick days. It's a scenario I always wanted and always thought I could manage. And I do. Some days are better than others chaos-wise, but I enjoy the ride.

So, if you are like me and literally collapse into your bed at night, sigh, and go off to NeverNeverLand, you will not be surprised by this piece of info. A new study finds that working moms are multitasking more than working fathers, but here's the kicker - the moms don't always enjoy the experience. Working mothers spend 10 more hours each week multitasking than working dads, 48.3 hours versus 38.9 hours, and they report more negative emotions about the experience than their male counterparts, according to the new study published in the December issue of the American Sociological Review.

"Our findings provide support for the popular notion that women are the ultimate multitaskers and suggest that the emotional experience of multitasking is very different for mothers and fathers," said Shira Offer, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor at Bar-Ilan University in Israel. "Only mothers report negative emotions and feeling stressed and conflicted when they multitask at home and in public settings. By contrast, multitasking in these contexts is a positive experience for fathers."

Personally, I enjoy cooking dinner, folding the laundry, and checking my email while watching a the Food Network. It's the only way I can watch TV without feeling guilty.  And when I drive to work, I enjoy catching up on the phone with my family. However,  these days I'm trying to be cognizant and resist the urge to NOT multitask when I'm with my kids. Yes, admittedly, this was partly inspired by a great show on Oprah (Oprah rocks, even though I always cry when I watch it!  Seriously, how does she do that?) The Oprah show stressed being in the moment with your kids. You can't take it for granted. This spoke to my inner Mommy who already knew but needed a reminder that time with the kids should be about just that, not laundry, cleaning up, or my I-phone.

What is your experience of multitasking? Do you do it more than your children's father does? Do you enjoy it, dread it, or simply accept it as a fact of life? Most importantly, is your quest to multitask and to be efficient taking some quality moments away from you and your child? I hope that we all try really hard to remember to take the time to turn off the craziness, stop and breathe, and just be there with the kiddies.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One Word -Resinol. A Miracle Cream for Diaper Rash and Mysterious Bumps and BooBoos

I couldn't tell if it was bug bites, some sort of eczema or hives. But my son mysteriously would get these little red bug bite type of things. I even thought it was bed bugs and went nuts cleaning the crib and house. Turns out, it's not bed bugs, but the origin of the little red bumps remains unknown. Even the doctor is unsure. But here's the good news - ta dah- RESINOL! You can get it at the drugstore. It was recommended by our family friend who happens to be a doctor. It's awesome for any type of bump or rash. Get it! Bumps and rashes will literally disappear within a couple of days. (No, I'm not being paid by the Resinol company. It's just really good stuff).

Saving at the Grocery Store- No, You Don't Have to Coupon All Day!

I have always thought "couponing" was a pipe dream. Really, who has time for that? I admire the moms that can swing it but I just can't. Maybe I'm just too tired, have too many excuses, or just disorganized. But I'm not a coupon Mom. However, I've found a few ways to save a lot on your grocery bill without a lot of time, headaches, scissors, or printer ink. These techniques have saved my family from $25 to $50 a week, approximately $200 a month! Here are my tips:

1. Plan out your menu for the week -sort of. It doesn't need to be specific but know, for example, that you are going to make 2 chicken dishes, 1 pasta dish, and 2 beef dishes, breakfast for dinner and pizza one night. Then have "generic" must have cooking ingredients on hand so you can make it happen, i.e. garlic, celery, carrots, onions, salt and pepper, pasta sauce/tomato sauce, pasta, rice. etc.
2. Be Flexible. Yes, you should go the grocery store with a plan so you don't have to run back to the store several more times that week but if you see another kind of meat on sale, one that wasn't on your menu for the week, get it! Go with what's on sale and save the other item for next week.
3. Look for Buy One Get One Free. Those deals are the best.  These days BOGOF items are not just junk. You can find good, healthy, and even organic items on sale. Stock on on pasta sauce, pasta, coffee, cereal, bagels, juice, etc. It may not be on your list this week, but it will be eventually, so stock up.
4. Look for Coupons in the Mail. I'm not talking about gathering all the newspapers and mags in site and sort for hours. I'm talking about checking out what's in your mailbox. Sometimes you'll get some good stuff - $10 off you entire ticket at Publix, for example.
5. Stay on the Outside Aisles as Much as Possible. When you're at the store, go with your "list" and menu, stay focused on those items and don't go into the "inside" aisles unless you have to. All the good stuff, the produce, dairy, bakery items, and meats are on the outer rows. Stay there as much as you can. And just keep your eye out for the Buy One Get One Free stuff as you pass from one side of the store to the other - that sale stuff is usually on the outer part of the aisles anyway. If you go on the "inside" rows, you'll find alot of processed, unnecessary, and expensive stuff you don't need. So, run "in" for your toilet paper, pasta, and popcorn every once and a while but make it quick and go back to the outside!
6. Buy Store Brand. Did you know Publix oj is made solely from Florida oranges? It's fresh and delicious and cheaper then the fancy competitors. Check store-brand ingredients. For example, Publix Greenwise is also a healthy and less expensive alternative - all meats and dairy are antibiotic free. So, go ahead buy the big jug of OJ- just make sure it's store brand!