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I sit down to write the many thoughts and emotions that consume me following the events of the last 7 days. I’ve been eager to “get it all out” in writing but now that I sit with tons of space to divulge, I have nothing.

I guess I could start with a recap of the things my family experienced.

It all starts with another positive C-Diff test, our 18 month old officially has VRE, and will in fact need a FMT…

  • 24 hours later notification from one of the top hospitals in the country that his procedure date has already been set
  • Prep for an endoscopy and colonoscopy begin
  • Starving our child follows
  • Stressing about work, continuously, follows
  • Packing for the family to travel and be gone for an undetermined amount of days
  • Still starving my child, offering only clear liquids and prep
  • Countless diaper changes
  • An unconscious baby in my arms
  • A vomiting, unconscious baby in my arms
  • Tests, pokes, screaming and crying
  • Low blood sugar & dehydration
  • Seizures
  • Possible cancellation of the FMT we’ve been waiting months for
  • A very sick little boy
  • A very impressive hospital/staff/care
  • More tests, pokes, screaming and crying, bit lips and tongues
  • I’m now soaked in vomit, my babies blood, and tears
  • An NG tube and listening to my baby cry “mama” and be held down for it
  • A baby in my arms, so tired and exhausted, he doesn’t even wake for IV changes or diaper changes anymore
  • A sleepless night
  • A day in the hospital
  • A long wait in the procedures room with a hungry, tired, fed up 18 mo old
  • A doctor telling us the colonscope and endoscope was a success
  • A doctor telling us the FMT went well
  • Seeing our little boy coming out of sedation, not gracefully
  • Getting discharged
  • Coming home to tornado sirens and water in the basement
  • More dirty diapers
  • The family in our own beds, IV/cords free, snoring soundly

I can’t even fully explain what we have gone through because of this relentless C-Diff infection. Life has definitely thrown us a curve ball, but somehow we keep going. God, keeps us going. When shit hits the fan SO extreme like that, you don’t have time to soak it in, dwell on it, or really even think. You just act. You’re just there. You do what you need to do as a spouse, as a parent, as a Christian. You get yourself, and your loved ones t-h-r-o-u-g-h it.

Our son is looking at one week post FMT, he’s doing OK. We haven’t seen the results in his diaper like we had been anticipating but I really think he is doing pretty good. (An FMT is a fecal transplant, used for recurring C-diff that is drug resistant. Essentially, a last hope to an infection that causes extreme flu-like symptoms and a lot of pain.)

If you’ve been reading these posts, I’ve officially put in my resignation. It has been so damn hard to put a career I love on the back-burner while my son has battled this infection. But God’s brought me here, a crossroads, and I’ve had to choose. My son, my family, our faith… wins.

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Conscious Eating

I once heard a saying like ‘eating was an opportunity to do your body good’.

I hadn’t looked at food that way, or thought about food as a step to take toward a healthier body and life. Food was just a means to an end. Hungry? Grab a snickers, literally. Thirsty? Chug a bottle of Coke. I cringe when I think of how rude I was to my body in my younger days!

I didn’t start caring much about nutrition, until I learned to pay attention to the affects of it on my skin, my sleep, my energy, mood, and more. The more I learned about natural remedies to health issues I wanted to “fix”, the more I found what I eat (and drink) controls so much!

In high school I was on a daily pill for my acne. You could argue a million different things here so let’s spare that sidebar. I’m not saying water would have cured my suffering and saved me $$$ on makeup…but why didn’t my derm even mention it to me!? Hormones have a lot to do with it, yes, but when I see my skin start to freak out even now, I can look back and say ‘yeah I obviously was cheating myself with diet and water these past few weeks’.

Take my thyroid for instance; there’s a whole section in the bookstore about how to help subside autoimmune issues with nourishment. In my recipe book, I actually label a soup as “thyroid healing”, so if I feel like I’m getting out of whack, I prep a huge pot and eat it throughout the week. And YES, it makes a difference.

Sometimes, especially with kids, grabbing the easiest and fastest thing is OK for your sanity. But looking at what you eat as an opportunity to fuel your body for the day, or to nourish an ailment that’s been causing concern, is so powerful.

I write this as a I FULL ENJOY my temporary stay at home mom life. (IF YOU HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING MY STORIES…STAY TUNED FOR A PLOT TWIST.) My babe sleeps and I plan out our lunches and snacks (aka budget my grocery list). I told Jeffrey last night, I love that our son gets excited when I chop watermelon. He stomps his little feet and says “peese!” for a bite, before I even get it halved. I might as well have a bowl full of skittles to offer those chubby little hands; that’s how excited he gets over fruits.

Exposing our littles to healthy options should be a natural thing, but sadly it isn’t (and wasn’t always for me growing up, either).  With a little more energy into a grocery list, grabbing more produce, and shopping organic, I find stocking the home with healthy choices makes it *almost fool proof to make good food decisions. And when I say “planning out our lunches and snacks”, for snacks- that seriously means grabbing something from the pantry and handing it to the babe. Sooo, not much planning at all 🙂

Our favorite good choice pantry snacks include Earth’s Best fruit bars, HappyBaby Yogie Bites, Annie’s Cheddar Bunnies, Honey Nut Cheerios, and Plum Organic ANYTHING (we love them).

So anyway, the babe naps, the oven is preheating for organic whole grain breaded chicken nuggets, I’m slicing some avocado, and of course his plate will be graced with watermelon. When I was working, I couldn’t really control what he ate, and now with all of his digestive issues, I wouldn’t give that control up easily again.

I’ve also tricked our little boy into loving steamed vegetables…by showing him it’s an opportunity to smear organic ranch in his hair and nose 🙂 Happy Tuesday, friends!

 

Working Mom Struggle

Good Morning Friends!

We’re back on this subject on this- “winter storm warning”- Wednesday in April. I’m still on partial leave with my job while our little man heals and gets through his big stint of meds. This “do I go back to work” limbo is a daily struggle for me.  I posted previously about Stay at Home Mom’s being the real MVP’s in today’s society and I’m thinking more and more that I want to join their team.

Having a SAHM in the household most likely means one income, lifestyle changes, and discipline with a budget. It actually almost seems unattainable in my part of the world. I have a few SAHM friends but the majority of my Mama gal pals still work. Is it because they want to? Because they have to? I’m sure the situation changes for every friend.

Here’s what I find concerning; We constantly hear about the struggles of student loan debt, yet society feeds us that college is the ONLY way to make a decent living. Now we’re starting to hear about the skyrocketing prices of daycare, too. Expensive college and expensive daycare? Basically if you’re a parent who wants to work and put your degree to use, be prepared to be broke.

In high school, when you’re directed to choose a path after graduation, getting knocked up and raising babies isn’t in the drop down. Maybe I’m a unique situation but I don’t recall the option for a path to learning how to be a good mom and wife. I think this couples with our “what is happening to today’s youth” concerns. I have a plausible explanation- their mom’s were all working to pay off student loans!

Right now we’re caught between “damn daycare is expensive” and “your student loans are too much for one income”, guess what isn’t on the table…SAHM tryouts.

Our nation is also in the middle of this amazing movement that’s empowering woman, blurring ethnic lines, and pushing for equality in all aspects of life. And I am 100% on board with it all! BUT BUT…where are the old-school values? The importance of a home life and family; why aren’t they part of the discussion? Why does it seem like the traditional mom at home role isn’t even acceptable anymore?

Those old school values are the most likely the same ones that raised these movers and shakers in today’s world. How did these people get the confidence, brains, and balls to go after what they believe and deserve?  Did their mamas (or dadas) stay at home when they were wee little ones!? I bet they did.

Why can’t we still promote further education and dreams bigger than outer space, but also nurture those whose dreams are home-bound? Can we at least get that option back on the menu? If someone would’ve shown me how to get an AA, knock out some serious career years, and then comfortably take time off to raise wholesome little hearts and brains- it would’ve seemed more fitting. (Right now I feel like I’m forced to choose work, for many reasons. I’m forced to ‘figure it out’ when it comes to a mom life and work life balance…FORCED).

I’m so grateful we’re in a society that first of all, ALLOWS us to do and achieve these things. I’m just saying…I think those of us struggling in this stay at home mom vs working woman limbo could use a little more direction and support. We don’t have options. AND of course our single working moms with college debt and daycare expenses…warriors. Can we just get a maternity leave (with debt deferment) that extends into toddler years? All problems solved 😉

Top Baby Must Haves

Good Morning!

It’s apparently Spring here in Iowa, however inches upon inches of snow covers our ground. Since we are unable to go out in the yard, the extended time indoors is allowing me to do a post I’ve wanted to write about- for months!… BABY PRODUCTS 🙂

I’m one of those moms that researches every baby product before she invests. So not only was time and energy already sacrificed for the safety, reviews, cuteness, and best-of’s in baby world…I’ve already personally used them!

If I had to offer any Mom (first baby or 15th baby) advice on the game changers for surviving that first year, this would be it:

1.) OWLET Baby Monitor– 5  of our friend’s homes (and counting), now have this product because of my recommendation. If you could track your baby’s oxygen and heart rate while they sleep and have that extra (much needed) sense of security, why wouldn’t you?

Let me start by saying this little sock monitor is the ONLY reason I was able to sleep when my little guy slept. He was diagnosed with Laryngomalacia (LM) a day after he was born. LM causes stridor in breathing and crying, cyanosis, apnea, chest retractions…all kinds of fun stuff you never want your newborn to suffer through. Though our son’s case was mild to moderate, knowing your baby has troubles breathing sometimes is enough for any parent to write off sleep.

His diagnosis, coupled with a warning of his condition worsening if he caught any common illnesses, was the reason the Owlet was not only worth it to us, but a necessity for our child’s LIFE.

Common Cold + Baby with LM= Zombie Psycho Mom

Common Cold + Baby with LM + Owlet=  Well Rested Happy Mom

User reviews of false alarms, over sensitivity on the monitor, etc., were never an issue for us. If you want this sock monitor, just educate yourself on how to use the product. They make it almost fool proof with a booklet, video tutorials, and amazing customer service. We only had one red-alarm in our year of use and our guy’s oxygen was dangerously low from a scary bout of apnea. Did it save his life? Is it number one on my list? Moving on…

2.) Fisher Price Rock & Play– Need baby to sleep in your room? Done. Need baby to sleep at grandma’s? Done. Need baby to sleep by you while you potty…uh-huh…done.

This little hammock-type rocker cradles your baby on an incline (better than baby laying flat all of the time) Incline was especially important for our little guys breathing and reflux.. It has mesh sides for breathabiltiy, vibrates for extra comfort, and is light and portable! One thing I would offer extra caution on, the placement of you baby’s head and neck; make sure baby uses their head and neck on both sides of the rocker (IE our baby favored his left side and we had to adjust and stretch him to avoid torticollis and plagiocephaly.) That piece aside, this double as his bed early on, his lounger while he was awake, a place to watch mom in the kitchen…it was so versatile for us.

3.) SKIP HOP Sound Machine- Moonlight and Melodies Owl- This adorable little plug-in Owl plays music, waves, heartbeat sounds, water and/or nature sounds. His belly glows and you can change the brightness of it. He can also be put on a timer and his volume is adjustable. AND he has a projector on his little head that throws stars across the ceiling for baby to gaze at while drifting off to sleep 🙂

This sound machine/night light has set the calming tone of the nursery every night for us. We actually even took it with us when we traveled so our babe would have the familiarity next to his pack and play in a hotel. We started using this about week 2 of his life, in our room, and it made the transition with him to his room around 4-5 months. He knows when we go to rock in his room with his owl on, it’s time to wind down. He started sleeping through the night at 4 weeks old and now sleeps about 12-13 hours a night (he’s 17 months). The owl is cute, calming, and a good part of a routine for our little guy.

SO! That’s it 🙂 Those are my favorites. The ones that promote healthy sleep mostly…wow that must be important for moms and babies? 😉

Honorable mention to this list, the Wubbanub! Our camo print fox Wubbanub was named, he was THAT important. Peaceful sleep, car rides, doctors appointments, you name it, Felix the fox was as vital as an appendage to our baby boy’s comfort. The cute little animal that hangs off of the ONE PIECE (whoo!) pacifier is easy for them to feel and grab and also helps them control pulling the paci out and putting it back in (accurately).

And the best part about this list is I’m not paid a dime to like these things or promote these things. It’s unpaid honest advice 🙂 And if you have questions, ASK!

 

SAHMs…How do you do it!?

Stay at home momma’s, if you’re out there reading, teach me your ways.

Our son has faced some health challenges in the past few months. We’ve come to the conclusion that I will need to quit my job or we need to be ready to fork over some serious cash for a good in home nanny.

As of now, we’re going to see a specialist to get to the bottom of his condition but to leave it vague, he has a suppressed immune system. Nothing is life threatening yet and I wouldn’t even be considering a nanny if I thought he wouldn’t still thrive. That being said…

I love my job, I love the people, the benefits, and the fulfillment I get it from it most days. I think I am a good working mom. So how do you even know if you would enjoy being a stay at home parent and giving up your career? I don’t know that answer, yet, which has led us to start nanny shopping.

The more I interview and search for the perfect fit for our son, the more I wonder if I’m doing this all wrong. If we’re paying someone THIS much money to do my daily mom duties, why am I just not staying home? Will we find someone we ever actually think is WORTH this huge investment risk? And the minute I sign up to return to work (on leave now, with my sickie)…I know I will cry.  I miss him every time I leave him.

And lastly, how does any family go from two incomes to one? It is such a huge lifestyle change and commitment. We need all the tips and tricks to make it work. We don’t want to live stressed out about bills or money but we also understand things like new cars, designer clothes, eating out, and cable…might be luxuries of the past.

I direct these million questions to God, every day. I pray for direction and to make the right decision, whether it be leaving my career or hiring an extended family member. In the mean time while he works on answering those prayers…feel free to share your experiences, thoughts, and advice on going from working mom to SAHM. Or from two comfortable paychecks, down to one (WITH STUDENT LOANS might I add).

Saturday Sledding

Last weekend we had a pretty picture perfect time together. (Much needed following weeks of little man’s illness.) We had probably (hopefully) our last snow storm of the winter and took advantage of the storm falling on a weekend and not a weekday.

I bought clearanced snow boots, snow pants, and a sled for Harry G. He had yet to own these items because he’s been couped up in the house! This was to be his first time playing out in the snow. We were so exited!

The snow didn’t fall according to plan but it was enough powder to play in and warm enough to enjoy the outdoors for a chunk of time. The whole family (including doggos) was able to run around outside with the sled.

Chili was bubbling in the slow cooker, fresh cupcakes stood to be frosted, and all of our winter gear was laid out by the back door waiting for occupancy. We were all healthy, happy, and together. It reminded me of story book. But by golly it was OUR normal Saturday.

Peanut loved the snow and the sled, although he couldn’t move very well in all of his gear. I thought he would get mad about the layers we had to suit up in (for the first time) but he was patient and made us proud. Kind of like he knew some fun was about to happen, so the layers were worth it.

Jeffrey pulled the sled with both of us in it mostly, because it wasn’t an infant sled, Harry fell over a lot if he was on his own 🙂 and then laid there until someone sat him upright (because again, he couldn’t move). The dogs ran circles in the fluffy snow, which was also good entertainment.

After we came in and warmed up, we played nerf gun wars (where mom and dad shoot darts at each other around the basement and Harry runs back and forth screaming and laughing…and the cat chases him.) Our cheeks got such a good workout that day.

 

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GOOD Morning

This morning I blog with pieces of Cocoa Bunnies smashed on my couch next to me. Mom life is so glam. But it’s a Tuesday morning, why am I not at work? Medical Leave, that’s why. Sick child, that’s why. I never want to hear the word C DIFF again…that’s why.

Early February brought vomiting and about 10 diaper changes a day…for 7 days. Our second diagnosis of an intestinal infection was confirmed and so a medication was started. And then switched. And then another one was started. One that was never prescribed to someone so young from our doctor’s office.

If you’ve ever had, or known someone who has had, C Difficile then you get that it SUCKS. The hard part is someone having it for a second time right around one year old. That is way too immature of an immune system to battle the infection and the harsh medications that come with it.

We don’t know where he got it, he’s only been on antibiotics 2-3 times in his life, and he doesn’t go to hospitals or nursing homes. I’m a germ freak, too. The wipe the carts down multiple times, wash your hands and remove your shoes when you come into my home, and touch door handles at my work with a tissue (crazy) type.

He’s doing MUCH better now, going on week 4 at home together. For two solid weeks he was in healing mode from the infection. In the thick of it, I was brought to tears by my washer and dryer on my knees, asking God to get us through this. I didn’t see my bubbly, trouble making toddler for over 2 weeks. He was a -can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t get comfortable, sick. little. boy. Heartbreaking.

I title this post GOOD Morning to remind myself, that it IS a good morning. He’s been testing his Mama lately. We’re both stuck indoors in the last haul of our winter. We’re stir crazy together and getting on each other’s nerves. But it is a GOOD morning because he’s home, he’s healing and getting healthier every day.

We’re not sure what the return to normal life will bring our family. Another infection, a cold, a flu, or by the grace of God…our sanity and daily grind back!? It’s hard to understand how your darkest times bring you closer to your faith, until you’re only peace is a piece of Him. My mantra will keep being ‘no room for worry, only room for faith’…

 

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Healing Soup

Soup should be warm, filling and nutritious. It’s a great way to incorporate a lot of healing foods in one meal. This is a new fav I’ve concocted-

1 c baby red potatoes with skins

1 c yellow potatoes with skins

1 c chopped carrots

3/4 c diced celery

32 oz organic chicken or veggie broth

1 can diced organic tomatoes

Spinach (optional)

1lb ground turkey (optional)

1/4 stick of butter to sautee spinach (optional)

Fresh garlic, cilantro and pink salts to taste

Ok so throw all of your chopped up veggies in the crockpot, cover with broth. Add un-drained can of tomatoes. Brown turkey on stove (season to your taste), once it’s all cooked drop butter in your pan and add spinach. Cover and cook on low heat until spinach wilts. Add that junk  into your crockpot.  I put about a tablespoon of fresh minced garlic in now, and about 1/4 c of fresh chopped cilantro. I salt as the soup cooks to get a good flavor. Don’t salt too much too soon because veggies cook down and offer great taste without doing much else. Let that all cook on low for 6 hours and voila!

Easy, great for you, and makes enough to eat through the week. No more canned soups in this house…

From Size D to Size AA

Those are cup sizes I’m referring to in the title. I went from just enough va-va-voom for a small size body to “do I really even need a bra today?” in a matter of weeks. Besides the obvious crap factor of being able to relate to a 7 year old boy from belly up, the big upset was the WHY to my disappearing act.

Weeks following the birth of the worlds chubbiest baby, my body did weird things. All I heard was that it was “normal” after pregnancy and that I might be depressed, or worse, making it up. I started to believe all of those things. Until I couldn’t ignore the 120’s resting heart rate, my hair falling out so much I could barely put it in a pony tail, my constant starvation, night sweats, mood swings, and complete inability to focus on anything. I started to feel mentally and physically ill. I watched my body go from 135 (I’m under 5 ft tall OK that’s big on this frame) and preggo AF to skin and bones in about 10 weeks (I think I was around 90lbs).

I could admit, at first after baby I was very stressed. I wasn’t taking care of myself like I should’ve been. But after the one month mark of our little dictator running our world, I was getting back in the swing of healthy eating, walking, and normalcy. He slept 9-10 hours a night so there was no excuse for why I wasn’t sleeping, but…I wasn’t sleeping.

C-Reactive protein levels sky high, T3, T4, TSH, Anitbodies, all the bullshit that comes back in blood work saying you have something wrong with your thyroid…I had. Does it run in your family? No. Have you had issues before? No. Are you ready for thyroid medications? No no no. My diagnosis of hashimotos answered all of the “why” to my freakish mental and physical state. That was great to hear it wasn’t just me. Or that there wasn’t an underlying issue we couldn’t pinpoint. I have accepted the diagnosis but I am reluctant to accept the “here’s what happens to you next…”

Infertility, medications, mental instability, possible nodules and surgeries, radioactive upstake scans that would take me from snuggling my child, and eventually flipping from hyperthyroidism to hypothyroidism and learning about a whole new demon to combat. SO…

I have started to read 🙂 I see my endocrinologist regularly to watch my levels. I fully soak up her professional advice but with an open mind. I have a new found obsession of healing myself from the inside out (with as little possible medical intervention).

I was given medications to start to treat hyperthyroidism, but learning that they can be harsh on your body and hard to ween off of, I didn’t think I was quite ready for that. I changed my diet, (had to take beta blockers for my insane heart rate), upped my vitamin D intake, de-stressed and detoxed, and kept reading (Thyroid Healing by Anthony William is amazing). At my follow up after I was supposed to have started thyroid meds, my levels started to improve. My endo silently cursed my name when I told her they were better because of what I was doing and not because of what a medication was SUPPOSED to be doing. (Proverbs 3:6 ya feel me?)

And so the adventure of my healing process begins. And so does the adventure of finding a bra to hold up… nothing.

Blogging Again!

I’m back at this thing called blogging, or more so online journaling that I can go back and read whenever. (Like go back and read my post-partum uploads and cry.)

I have all these new things I can share with whoever wants to follow, like my new mommyhood, my thyroid diagnosis, my diet changes for said thyroid crap, our WEDDING coming up this year, recipes, working out, whew….

So basically if you back track my blog posts I met a cute guy, we started an adventure together, we lost a baby, and finally had a healthy one!

Since then I have started a new job, LOVED every minute of mom life, got a really bad haircut, got diagnosed with a hashimotos thyroiditis, set a wedding date, and all 3 of us got the stomach flu at the same time (pure hell).

Not that much has happened 😉 So if you want to read some personal family stories, or follow a new journey of body healing with an autoimmune disease, or love God, or love kids, or dogs, or clothes, or new recipes, or sarcasm…read along!

Maybe I should change my blog name from unsweetened sugar to unsweetened stevia…