Open up Dern it!

I, like my husband, have noticed lately how late places open especially on the weekends. When you have kids, you no longer have the luxury to “Sleep in” because someone else controls when you go to bed and when you wake up. So, it is surprising to me that so many public places and establishments open after 10am. The average toddler goes to sleep by 8pm (remember, that is average – which means some will go to sleep even earlier) and wake up by 6am. It is amazing then to me that libraries, museums, recreation centers, malls, and other places open after 10am. Don’t these places pride themselves on attracting children- I mean, they sure do advertise to them. Some kids take naps as early as 11am! So, how can a parent take a child to one of these places for an hour? It makes no sense to me and lately, my husband and I have discussed this very problem. He spent two Sundays in a row waiting in a line outside the rec center to take our toddler swimming. The rec center did not open until 10am!

Not only do these hours of operation make no sense to me, I wonder what principle they run these centers on. Is it for the elderly or the single person? Even my single friends or friends without kids get up early to go exercise or go shopping. Even they are wondering why 10am. The places that really perplex me are the ones that cater to children like pools, rec centers, children’s museums, and libraries. Storytime at 1030am on a Saturday? I wish these places would just open even an hour early becacuse that make all the difference. For example, on a typical Saturday, my toddler will get up at 630am. By 830am we are done with breakfast and playtime so we can take off to arrive at the rec center by 9am, and be dutifully home by 11am for lunch followed by a nice naptime, and boom! In the afternoon, the child is refreshed and ready for afternoon fun like the park and other outdoor locations. In the winter this makes even more sense because it is tough to do outdoor activities before noon.

So I rant on hoping someone will listen and other parents complain too. I guess ’til then, I have to entertain my own kid for the entire morning! Oy vay!

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It’s not a Tumor Part II

So, the ER doc came in to talk with us about what someone else saw on the CT Scan. At first, she came in and said “you have a kidney stone.” A few minutes, after she got a call and came back it was no longer a stone, but rather, I may have appendicitis. WHAT??? How do you go from stone to appendicitis. Anyway, she said she would send down a general surgeon to meet with us to consult. Oh great!
The surgeon came by and could not tell anything definitive either. In either case, we were admitted to determine whether to go forward with appendix surgery or not. After this it was a waiting game but in the meantime, I started getting better and by mid-afternoon, the pain was gone. But the waiting game continued…. We waited for the surgeon to return but in the meantime were told that surgery was coming to get us – what?!

Anyway, our nurse was very resourceful, young and quite the nosy busy body so she managed to track down our surgeon who came in and pushed rather hard on my abdominal area again and said he had no strong opinions on whether I should stay the night or not but he was not ruling out appendicitis. What kind of diagnosis is that? Even just 6 hours ago, I was in horrible pain but now nothing except sheer and utter starvation. Sure, the IVs were helping with dehydration but I felt horrible and my milk was drying up too – after all, you need nutrition to produce milk. I really just wanted to go home but since the doctor agreed to allow me to have some liquids, I had some broth and jello and decided to stay the night since the yukky stuff had sorta returned. The nurses even offerred to take my IV out so I decided to stay overnight. I knew what that meant – interruptions to come check vitals and what not all night long – ahh! But having stayed at the hospital twice before for two pregnancies, I asked the nurses to not bother me and managed to get 5 hours of uninterrupted sleep accompanied by another 2 hours. In the morning, my white blood cell count had gone down and I was released by 8am. I was also permitted to have solid foods and ate a breakfast… finally! I was very sore from where the doctor had pushed down on my internal organs but other than that lingering pain and general malaise, I felt pretty good. Now, it was time to breastfeed my baby and get my milk supply back up.

So, I am still perturbed to not know definitively what was wrong with me other than perhaps gastroentiritis. But once again, just a perhaps. I am just glad they did not see anything too severe but at the same time, I wish they could have told me for sure. Just another reason I do not have much faith in the medical industry but let’s hope for the best.

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It’s not a tumor! Part I

So recently I had “something” very wrong with me. On Monday night, I started having some mild cramping which I assumed was normal post-partum cramping but a few hours later it turned into a violent attack in my abdomen radiating across my front torso and into my back, and eventually settling on my left lower side. I did all I used to do before when I had stomach pains or gas- Tums, Pepto, a carbonated beverage, and heat (thinking it could be menstrual pain). Well, nothing helped. 12 hours and several vomit episodes later, I realized the cramping was still pretty bad and I had a steady pain that radiating from my left side to the middle of my abdomen so I thought it best my husband take me to the ER. Well, that is where the fun begins…

… we arrived at the ER and I was in severe pain. I remember telling my husband it was worse than labor. Now, that is important to note because I had just delivered our second child four weeks ago so for me to say it was worse than labor was quite the comment. We were admitted into a room there and another person was also wheeled in later. Sharing a room wtih just a curtain blocking you from the next person over is quite unnerving. In fact, it is downright annoying at times… more to follow on that. But, you get to hear the person’s name, DOB, and their entire medical history. Fortunately, for me, I was there first so I got to hear others’ personal privacy information first. I am surprised that they share beds in the ER considering they are so concerned about HIPPAA every other time you try to ask for something…”oh no, that would violate HIPPAA Privacy Laws, but here, share an ER room with this person and then you can record their DOB, their name, their medical history and their diagnosis…that’s okay.”

I was also fascinated with the fact that when the guy next to me got X-rays taken in the room with the push cart X-ray maching, they stuck that nice little bib over the railing of the bed I was laying in. I was miffed by this because I saw no point. How does hanging one of those bibbs over the rail of my bed protect me from radiation? Not to mention I am breastfeeding so really? A bibb over the rail? Really? Anyway, that was humorous but it did not end there.

We ended up getting an annoying new curtain neighbor when the other one left and what an entertaining couple of folks they were! The guy who was admitted was hard of hearing and was screaming – he was loud! The lady that was with him – maybe his wife but who knows right, was a complete freak too. She was talking loud and all sorts of nonsense but for my husband and I, it provided a few minutes of humor in an otherwise scary and unnerving day. I mean who enjoys going to the ER only to have to wait to find out what is wrong with them.

Which brings up my next point- so, they could not figure out what was wrong with me. Four weeks post partum, but no one thought to call my OB and do an exam. Instead they took urine to rule out UTI and kidney stones. Well, it does not end there. I was breastfeeding and of course had not eaten or drank in sometime and I was drying up. Amidst all this they decided to do a CT Scan with contrast so I could not feed the baby for more hours. They wanted to find out what was wrong so I had to drink this horrible liquid in the room. All I could think of as I watched the monster 64 oz. cup come at me was … “Man v. Food” from the Travel Channel and it was a quest really to finish the nasty stuff as I fought cramping and nausea. I tried to think back to some of the gorry episodes where he tackled the 13 egg omelet (or something like that), and the burritos and the clams, and thought… okay, the key is to down it. They had brought me a straw but turns out, that was a time killed. It was better to just down it all at once and hope for the best. In the case of woman v. nasty drink, drink almost won. So, after I conquered the liquid drink, they wheeled me into this room to take the Scan and it was not as scary as I thought it would be so I was glad- I can’t imagine how people get CT Scans of their heads — to be rolled into some giant machine and not come out seems frightening to me. The weirdest sensation was when they injected me with the contrast dye which turns out is actually the safest thing to give pregnant and nursing moms. This dye which is clear allows them to see all the organs better- it is cool but when it goes into your system gives you a warm, a very warm to hot sensation that extends from your head to your groin. It is quite unnerving and feels like your body is on fire. It goes away quickly but nonetheless, weird.

So we received a diagnosis a few minutes after returning to our walled off curtained area. No, it’s not a tumor! Thank god. I was envisioning the worse. To Be Continued in Part II…

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100% all Natural

I am prefacing this blog by stating that this is my experience and of course, from what little data I have gathered, I do believe this to be the case. Of course, if you have some evidence to dispute the below, I would love your comments.

Recently, I had my second child and therefore, decided pretty early on in the pregnancy that I was going to 100% natural this time. I did more data gathering this time, hired a doula (which I should have done the first time), and delved into the effects of epidurals, medications, and other medical interventions during child birth. I was amazed to learn that if you take any of the above before you are in active labor, that labor and delivery could be slowed down significantly. Moreover, anything taken before active labor can pass directly to the baby and thereby effect the baby’s development too. This time labor and delivery was a lot quicker and while there is no pain-free labor and delivery, I have to say I was better prepared. I knew what labor pains would feel like and I was able to manage pain better. I knew about the progression of labor and the dilation and knew anything taken before I was at least 5 cm would slow down labor and possibly harm the baby. I also had hired a doula to help with pain management at the hospital and advocate for me. All in all, I have to say this time around, the entire experience was better and my recovery was 10 times quicker. Last time, I remember not being able to walk properly or do much for over 2 weeks post-partum. This time, I was up and ready within hours and the next day, was on my own, able to breastfeed a baby who was eager to feed, and was ready to head home.

This time my labor and delivery was 100% natural. Last time, I got to the hospital too early and to help me sleep and manage pain they offerred me morphine. I was only 1 cm dilated so of course, that slowed down labor – granted, the pain still continued and the meds did nothing for the pain. I was groggy, exhausted, and of course, the same can be said for the baby- she was also taking in the morphine and that may have contributed to late development for her as she did not feed right away, lost a lot of weight and to this day has issues with feeding and sleep. My sister-in-law reports different experiences with her births too. For the first, she took an epidural. I am not sure when but from how she explained it, early. While I am not associating all medical intervention with slow labor and delivery, post-recovery issues, and baby development issues, I think there is something to be said about 100% natural child birth and all of the above. Her second son was born free of intervention and from what I hear, a better eater, a better breast feeder, and even a better sleeper.

I have noticed the same this time with my second child- she is a better eater, is gaining weight, and a much better sleeper. Not that my first child was a terror- she was not. She was a great baby too but this one is just doing better and was more alert from the time of birth. I would love to do more empirical and statistical data gathering on this matter because of my own experience on the issue and I have even talked with my husband about becoming a doula part-time in the future to spread this knowledge and experience. I would love to help other women who are having children to go natural – it is truly the best thing for mother and child.

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Second Chances

As I look my newborn daughter I realize she is a lot like my other daughter at her age. It is amazing how identical they look. When I put the outfits my oldes daughter wore at that age on her, she looks identical to her. When I look at old photos of my daughter who was born almost two years ago, I am completely amazed that my newborn is a splitting image of her. So, during a late night feeding I started to think – is this my second chance? Do I get to start over and do things right that I may have done wrong before or is this a completely new child?

The interesting thing is that I have different plans this time for things that I may have done wrong last time- for example, when it comes to sleeping, I would like to develop better sleeping habits with this child because the eldest daughter is a lost cause. I would also like to develop better eating habits for this child because that is another area of concern with our oldest. So, you ask – how do I plan on doing this? And you are thinking to yourself “well, every child is different and this is not your first one!” True- true. I know all children are different but all children are trainable if you start early enough. Children are a reflection of their parents and how we react really does affect the child’s behavior. In any case, my newborn is too young to be trained just yet and she is still trying to just gain fat and weight so she can sustain herself for 6 to 8 hours at night. Night versus Day is a whole ‘nother battle. We will need to be her eyes and ears and help her understand day versus night because she has no clue. My goal is to start at a reasonable age and this depends on the child. The child will give us clues as to when she is ready to be sleep trained and so on. I have missed the clues my first daughter sent me. There was a time when we could have easily trained her to eat better but that time has now passed. We could have sleep trained her but we chose not to mainly out of laziness and exhaustion – we just chose to stick her in our bed and make life easier for me (I was breastfeeding her), and for dad.

I am not sure things will be that much different in our second chance but I certainly would like to try and obviously, we will adapt to this kid and depending how she responds to our second time around as well.

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