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Pregnant Women Don’t Always Glow

Sure – I had my share of compliments, family, friends and strangers telling me I had that “glow”, but I they didn’t see me at my finest, when those evil little hormones took over my body like the Poltergeist.  The nights I began sobbing during a car commercial or when I freaked out on my husband because he put the car keys in the wrong spot. Let’s not even talk about what happened when I watched a Lifetime movie.

It happens to the best of us and it’s possible that you could find yourself thinking there’s something seriously wrong with you. You could begin to question your own sanity and wondering if you need psychiatric help. The good news is, you don’t. You’re pregnant and being irrational, moody and teary is par for the course. Your body is going through tremendous physical and emotional changes, so you will, most likely, put on the waterworks and freak out at whoever is closest to you during your fit of rage, if you haven’t already.

I don’t have a ton of advice, as I’d normally recommend a wine or liquor but considering the situation, that’s not an option – so I’ll let you know what worked for me. Sometimes, it’s as simple as taking a deep breath and checking yourself. Other times, it could involve a ½ gallon of Publix Chocolate Trinity ice cream (that is, unless you get diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes). …and sometimes, you just have to let it all out and ask for forgiveness when you regain your sanity.

My last bit of advice is this: Find articles proving to your significant other that your body has been taken over and that you have little to no control over your actions. This is crucial – because men will not (and cannot) ever truly understand what pregnancy feels like and what it does to us emotionally and physically!

So, remember this and repeat it daily (think of it as your 10 month daily affirmation), “I’m allowed to sob, sneer, cry or fart as I please! Everyone else will just have to deal!”

Inaugural Father’s Day

So, Father’s Day has come and gone and I have a bit of sadness that it’s over. For me, it felt a little like Christmas. I’m not one that can typically keep a surprise a secret, so I felt like a kid waiting or Santa to wedge his fat ass down my chimney. I may have been more excited about it than my husband was…I REALLY wanted to make his day extra special, since it was his first one – and I’m fairly confident I did. Here’s what he got:

A 24oz Custom Tervis Tumbler. For those of you that aren’t familiar with these, they are the most awesome tumblers out there. Virtually, the only thing we drink from in our house. They keep cold drinks cold and hot drinks hot – and best of all, they don’t sweat (which is kind of a big deal when you live in hot and steamy FLA). The best part is they’re guaranteed for life – AND, they now let you customize them with your own photos and text – which is new and totally awesome! They’re pricey, but worth their weight in gold!

A custom Red Wings outfit for our daughter (hubby is a HUGE Red Wings fan). It was a onesie with a Red Wings patch on the front – and her name with the #12 on the back (year she was born).

A custom Shopping Tote with pictures of our daughter that says “I love to shop with Daddy”…because she does, and does so often (since he does all of the shopping for us).

A Father’s Day poem, titled, “Thank You Daddy” that I wrote to him from our daughter. I designed it with a watermark photo of them both, and included her footprints (that I scanned in from the hospital. I then got it printed on 1” foam board and displayed it on a desktop easel.

…and last – let’s not forget I gave him the most beautiful daughter a father could wish for!

Today I’d like to thank you
For all of the things you do
But most of all I thank you
Just for being you
 
Having you near me
Makes me glad to know
That you’ll always be here
To watch me change and grow
 
In my eyes, I hope that you can see
I’m proud to have a Dad
That watches over me
 
I love it when you kiss me
And hold my tiny hand
I know you’ll guide my footsteps
When I can finally stand
 
I love it when you smile at me
It makes me laugh out loud
You are what I want to be
And I hope to make you proud
 
You are the perfect Dad
Kind, gentle and fun
I’m grateful and I’m glad
To have the very best one
Even when I’m grown
And we have to be apart
I’ll cherish the love you give me
From your kind and gentle heart
 
Daddy I love you
What more can I say?
That I’ll love you more and more
Every single day

Goodbye Bikini Hello Granny Panties

This wasn’t as difficult for me, as it was, has been and will be for so many others. I was lucky and had a small baby, but I still remember watching in awe as my body morphed from “slightly chunky” to “bigger than I’ve ever been”, which luckily wasn’t as big as I thought thanks to Gestational Diabetes.

Our society pressures women into thinking they should be emaciated in order to look beautiful; which, in my opinion, is warped and downright sadistic. Honestly who was the one that decided bony was beautiful?

I think those who struggle with body image are affected the most, and if you are that women (or girl), it’s critical that you speak with your OB about it. Not only does baby need food to survive (remember, you now have a teeny, tiny living person inside of you), you could also be putting yourself at risk and face miscarriage, pre-term labor, birth defects or even a still birth.

So, take a step back, think about your little baby (you’re going to be a Mom, that’s your job) and learn to love, the beautifully pregnant, you!

We Came, We Conceived, We Conquered

So, after trying for two long years, we finally made a little baby on our 3rd wedding anniversary. I knew pretty quickly that I was pregnant since my “friend” had been faithful (abundant and ever-so-prompt) since we met at the tender age of 11. I was a week late. I needed to pee on a stick – which I had lots of practice doing since I had peed on about 100 ovulation sticks up until that point; but, this.stick.was.different. This was a potentially life-changing stick. So, there I was pants around my ankles popping a squat and then patiently waiting for that beautiful little “+” sign to appear – and after two minutes (or what seemed like a century) – there it was!

It was May 9, 2011 (the day after mother’s day) and one of the happiest days of my life.

Prenatal Testing

So, we’ve already established that I’m old and got pregnant at 39 and I think we all know the potential risks of getting pregnant after 35. In my previous post Yo Momma’s so old we briefly discussed the advances in medicine that allow for testing to help determine whether or not your baby is likely to have a genetic defect or not.

This was a very, very sensitive, and downright terrifying topic for me. I’ve grown more paranoid and neurotic in my old age and didn’t think twice about getting the tests done (as they are optional).

Every couple has a 3-4% chance of having a baby with a birth defect. The risk may be less or more than this depending on many factors including age, medical conditions, medication use, and family history. Prenatal testing for certain disorders is optional for all couples. There are screening tests and diagnostic tests to give you more information about your specific risk in this pregnancy. Each test has benefits and risks and the options can be confusing. There is no test available that can identify every possible birth defect or medical condition of a baby. There is no guarantee despite any testing done that a condition is diagnosed or that you will have a healthy baby.

Types of conditions tested for:

Neural Tube Defects: this category of birth defects comprises problems with how the brain and/or spinal cord of the fetus formed. These structures develop from the neural tube of the embryo. If this tube does not close appropriately (usually occurs 30 days after conception), this type of defect can occur. These problems range from spina bifida (an opening in the spine and spinal cord causing a range of disabilities) to anencephaly (an absence of the brain). The risk of having this condition is 1/500 and does not change with maternal age.

Chromosomal abnormalities: Chromosomes are structures in every cell that carry genetic information. Normally a person has 23 pairs of chromosomes or 46 total. If a pregnancy gets too many or not enough chromosomes, problems arise. Usually these pregnancies miscarry. If miscarriage does not occur, a baby may be born with mental and physical disabilities, sometimes incompatible with life. One of the most common chromosome abnormalities is Downs Syndrome, or Trisomy 21, which is an extra chromosome 21. In this condition, there are three chromosome 21s instead of two. Another chromosome abnormality that can be sometimes detected with prenatal testing is Trisomy 18, a lethal complication resulting in fetal or neonatal death. The risk of having a baby with a chromosomal abnormality increases with maternal age. However, because younger women have more babies, 80% of all chromosomal abnormalities are found in mothers less than 35 years of age.

Optional Screening Tests:

These tests DO NOT diagnose or prove there is a problem. They simply can change your estimated risk of having a baby with certain disorders but do not give you a “Yes/No” that your baby does or does not have the condition tested for. There are false positive and false negative results with these tests. So, even normal tests do not guarantee the birth of a healthy baby. If you have abnormal results of these tests, one of the diagnostic tests would be offered to give you further information.

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*First trimester screening measures the nuchal translucency (fluid area behind the neck) of the fetus and 2 proteins in maternal blood. All this information is also combined with maternal age to get a risk assessment for Trisomy 21 and Trisomy 18. If you do this test, then instead of the Quad screen at 15-20 weeks we offer an AFP (alpha fetal protein) maternal blood test to screen for neural tube defects.

Optional Diagnotic Tests:

These tests are more accurate at finding a fetal problem but they are looking for specific problems. Even a normal result of one of these tests does not guarantee a healthy baby. The trade off with improved accuracy of these tests is having a risk to the fetus. Some women do these diagnostic tests after abnormal screening test results and some women do diagnostic testing without previous screening tests. These tests are usually performed by a high risk obstetric specialist and we will refer you if you desire one of these tests.

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There are risks and benefits to these tests and it is an individual decision for each family whether to do any of these tests and which ones. You do not need to do any screening or diagnostic testing. The benefits of any prenatal testing include reassurance, or in the event of a problem, preparation, optimal medical management, or termination of the pregnancy. The risks including additional worrying if you have abnormal screening tests but don’t do diagnostic testing and the miscarriage risks associated with diagnostic testing. This risk of not doing any testing is not knowing about a birth defect, or a higher risk of one, before delivery.

Fortunately, my initial tests came back good, so I didn’t have to have an amniocentesis. What I can tell you is, the waiting (between the tests and results) was the hardest part for me and knowing how hard it is to have a healthy child – I give credit to every Mom, Dad and family member that has had to deal with the alternative.

*Information courtesy of Haugen OBGYN

Once Upon a Time

I’m an avid reader, or should I say I was before baby. I’d devour my business magazines (namely Inc, Entrepreneur & Fast Company) ripping out pages to further research. When I commuted to work, I’d listen to podcasts or audio books to and from work – Ah, and my long lost friend Kindle who accompanied me on every vacation – providing the vehicle to my library of $9.99 books, compliments of Amazon.com. Now, my poor old magazines have been summoned to the bookcase, waiting desperately to be read. Oh, and they’re now joined by Parents, American Baby and Baby Talk.

Now that Baby’s here, I’m more consumed with learning the words to all of the children’s songs, I, so long ago, forgot and am beginning to read to my dear girl – now that she’s not attached to my breast, sleeping or crying all of the time. I actually started by reading my books to her as I breastfed (multitasking tip) which enabled me to enjoy a book while she got to hear my voice and begin develop her own language skills. Not sure if she’ll actually remember the Story of Steve Jobs – but hopefully she will – and follow in his footsteps (wishful thinking)

Reading aloud to young children is the single most effective thing parents can do to help prepare their children to succeed in school; however, less than half of U.S. children ages 5 and under are read to every day, placing them at risk for reading delays and school failure.

Below is a list of books I’ve compiled, based on my own experience and/or recommendations from family and friends.

You can also view this compilation on Amazon here: Books Every Kid Should Own and here: Must Have Baby Books

Books Every Kid Should Own

  • Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein (my all time favorite book when I was a kid)
  • You Were Loved Before You Were Born by Eve Bunting
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  • Mrs. Piggle Wiggle by Betty MacDonald
  • Oh! The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  • Arm in Arm by Remy Charlip
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • The Stinky Cheese Man by Lane Smith
  • Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  • Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach
  • To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
  • Just in Case You Ever Wonder by Max Lucado
  • Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  • Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • The Twiddlebugs’ Dream House by Pat Tornborg
  • The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone
  • The Bible (despite whether you are religious or not – every child should have the opportunity to learn about religion)

Must Have Baby Books

  • Love You Forever by Robert Munsch and Sheila McGraw
  • My Very First Mother Goose Edited by Iona Opie
  • Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed by Eileen Christelow
  • Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • Hugs and Kisses by Christophe Loupy
  • Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
  • ABC: An Amazing Alphabet Book! Dr Seuss
  • Wet Pet, Dry Pet, Your Pet, My Pet! by Dr. Seuss
  • On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman
  • Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? by Karen Katz
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
  • We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
  • Press Here by Herve Tullet
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
  • I Love You, Stinky Face by Cyd Moore
  • Close Your Eyes by Kate Banks
  • Is Your Mama a Llama? by Deborah Guarino
  • Busy Penguins by John Schindel
  • “More More More,” Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams
  • Gossie by Olivier Dunrea
  • Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
  • In the Tall, Tall Grass by Denise Fleming
  • Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
  • Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
  • Kitten’s First Full Moon by Kevin Henkes
  • Peek-a-boo! by Roberta Grobel Intrater
  • Time to Get Dressed! by Elivia Savadier
  • Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
  • Wheels on the Bus by Raffi
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown

Yo Momma’s so old

I’ve heard the saying, “40 is the new 20” a hundred times since I started trying to conceive at the ripe-old-age of 37, but the reality is, I’m forty―forty-freakin-years-old. I still can’t believe it. I remember being 12 and thinking “How old will I be in the year 2000?” I was 29 then, and that was 12 years ago (a bit ironic I bring this up now). I’m a mom. Never imagined being a mom back then and now I’m a forty-year-old-mom.

Not sure if you know this, but women are born with all of the eggs they will ever have, so a forty-year-old woman has forty-year-old eggs. What this means is that those eggs are old too – and the older an egg is, the more likely it is to develop some type of chromosomal abnormality (why it’s important to take your prenatal vitamins). Men, on the other hand, continue to make fresh sperm forever, as long as they live. Another plus to being a man (but that’s a whole ‘nother blog post).

Luckily, today there are a myriad of prenatal tests that can help determine if your child will be affected by your archaic eggs. Tests you can choose to have, or not.

I often think about the differences between young and old moms. Young moms leave their kids with a sitter so they can go out clubbing with their friends. Older moms leave their kids with a sitter so they can take a nap.

But seriously, there are advantages to being an older mom.

  • Patience – Older moms tend to be more patient.
  • Financial Stability – Older parents are typically able to better provide for their children financially.
  • Better Role Models – Older Moms have been around the block. They tend to be more confident with themselves and are better able to explain life to their kids.

But still, as I think about it, the reality sets in I realize that I’m going to be 58 at my daughter’s high school graduation. I can picture it now….her friends, teacher and even the janitor will, oh-so-sincerely say…”Oh, hey Summer, is that your grandma? Why isn’t your mom here?” At least I have a few more years to come up with a clever response.

For my fellow oldies – Here’s a couple of “Yo Momma” jokes to take in so that you, too, can prepare said clever response.

Your momma’s so old…

  • she left her purse on Noah’s Ark.
  • Jurassic Park brought back the memories…
  • when she ran the 100 metre dash, they timed her with a sundial.
  • she still owes Moses a dollar.
  • when she was at school…there was No history class!
  • she uses her hot flushes to heat her cup of Tea.
  • she co-wrote the 4th Commandment.
  • when I asked for her ID she handed me a rock.
  • she even made Yoda jealous.
  • she recalls when the Grand Canyon was a ditch.
  • the fire department are on standby when you light her birthday cake.
  • when she gave birth, You came out with Dentures.
  • she sat in front of Jesus in 1st grade.
  • her first job was as Cain and Abel’s baby-sitter.
  • her birthday expired.
  • when Moses parted the Red Sea, he found yo momma fishing on the other side!
  • she got the first copy of the Ten Commandments.
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