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Saturday, June 30, 2012

babies month-by-month

I found these monthly milestones from a recent Parents magazine. LOVE that magazine! Here are some typical things babies do in their first year:

1 Month

make eye contact
clutch at parents
when studying faces, grows quiet and still
will have some response when hears voices
when placed on her back, will turn head to one side

2 Months
holds head up briefly
improves muscle tone
becomes excited in anticipation of objects
holds items for a few moments or longer
responds to a parent's presence with excitement

3 Months
begins to recognize family members
gurgles and coos in response to sounds
smiles easily

4 Months
laughs while socializing; cries if play is disrupted
has responsive periods of an hour or more
is quieted by music
makes "swimming" motions

5 Months
protests loudly if you try to take away a favorite toy
brings feet up to mouth and happily sucks on toes
when seated, can hold head steadily while playing with toys
will have some response when she hears voices

6 Months

turns and twists body in all directions
ready to eat solid foods such as cereals and purees
shows pleasure but also flashes of anger

7 Months
may crawl rather than creep (with abdomen on floor)
starts to learn the meaning of "no" by your tone of voice
resists if you try to make him do something he doesn't want to do
may be able to assume a seated position on his own

8 Months
crawls either forward or backward
pats, smiles at and kisses own image in mirror
is attached to parents and may be wary of strangers
can sit without support for long stretches of time

9 Months
preforms for others
grows bored with repeating games or activities
can deliberately choose a toy for play
may be sensitive to other children and their emotions, cries when they cry

10 Months

develops self-awareness and seeks social approval
responds to music by rocking, bouncing, and humming
imitates others
understands the word no, but continues to explore anyway

11 Months

seeks approval
cruises along furniture
enjoys games such as hide-and-seek

12 Months

seeks approval
cruises along furniture
enjoys games such as hide-and-seek
remembers events for longer periods of time
shows an emerging sense of humor

Monday, June 25, 2012

a few good reads for June!

Read this summer!

Stop Second-Guessing Yourself - The Toddler Years - A Field-Tested Guide to Confident Parenting by Jen Singer
This was a great book! Definitely written by someone who knows toddlers very well. The author covered all things toddler related - giving up bottles for sippy cups, potty training, and tantrums. Filled with humor and real moms' stories, this is an easy read that helps you not feel like your toddler is crazy for doing all these new "I can do it myself" things and saying "NOOO" all the time.

(image from Google)

Food Fights - Winning the nutritional challenges of parenthood armed with insight, humor and a bottle of ketchup by Laura Jana, MD, FAAP and Jennifer Shu, MD, FAAP
Loved this book! Great tips like not putting too much on your child's plate, understanding that we don't need to have our kids be part of the clean plates club any longer, and how to help a baby who spits up a lot. It runs the gamut from newborns and nursing to school-aged children and how to teach to use a regular cup at meal time. We all have experienced food fights. These authors put the fights into an easy to figure out solution-focused, how-to book. They also include recipes in the back of the book of some great ideas like cauliflower popcorn (gotta get in those veggies!) and Super Healthy Pumpkin Muffins. A great starter book for anyone experiencing issues with feeding their child.

                                                             (image from Google)

Unbuttoned - Women open up about the pleasures, pains and politics of breastfeeding by Dana Sullivan and Maureen Connolly
I skimmed this one because it was pretty long and I have a newborn at home so limited reading time at my hands these days. It was a great book though. I have never found a book that gave the REAL truth about breastfeeding - the blisters, the sore nipples, the times where it just doesn't work and the latch is not happening, the hard hours in the middle of the night, the guilt at it not working, etc. There were so many wonderful, uplifting stories, too, about the bond between mom and baby while nursing and how proud women are when it works perfectly. My favorite story was of a mom who had 4 kids and was now selling off all her old baby things, now finished with having babies. She took her breast pump to a consignment store and just decided she could not part with it, instead put it on a shelf in her room to look at and remind her of the great job she did pumping milk for her kids. I love that! A great read - no matter if you use bottles, pump, strictly nurse, use formula or however you feed your child. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

book - Colic Solved

Colic Solved - The essential guide to infant reflux and the care of your crying, difficult-to-soothe baby by Bryan Vartabedian, M.D.

(image from Google)

This was a very good book and resource for acid reflux. I had not heard much about this topic before reading this book and talking to a friend. I feel now that I have a better grasp of what colic really is... and I'm grateful my babies did not experience this. It sounds like a very challenging situation, and yet the author of this book made it seem manageable with good ideas on how to deal with the situation. 

What is reflux?
Written by a doctor and like a doctor, this book is honest, straight-forward and full of facts and reality. Starting in the beginning of the book where the author explains what reflux really is - "the physiological condition in which stomach contents come back up from the stomach into the esophagus where it doesn't belong."

The author suggests that all babies have reflux, it is a normal thing. Some babies just have it worse, which leads to colic. 

What is colic?
On page 7, the author wrote that babies cannot have colic since it is not a disease to be diagnosed. It is rather a "pattern of behavior."

More common than one thinks.
On page 31 the author provided some statistics: "Close to 70 % of babies between 4 and 6 months old spit up at least once a day. About 5 % of 1-year-olds spit up at least once a day at their first birthday. Babies with frequent spitting up are 2.3 times more likely than infrequent spitters to have reflux at age 9 years. About 8 % of all teenagers report regular reflux symptoms."

7 signs of reflux:
spitting and vomiting
constant hiccups
feeding disturbances
chronic irritability 
discomfort when lying on the bak
sleep disturbance
chronic cough and/or congestion
(page 40)

When does reflux show itself?
Reflux can start from birth, but most often it occurs when they are 3 to 6 weeks old, according to the author on page 53.

10 signs a colicky baby may have reflux:
arches and pulls off the nipple
feeds voraciously
seems hungry but requires more than 20 minutes to complete a 3-to-4-ounce bottle
feeds better when half asleep
more frequently irritable after feeds than at any other time
screams when put down for diaper changes
awakens from sound sleep with bloodcurdling screams
you "hear" stomach contents being burped up from stomach into throat
frequently has coarse, noisy breathing that's worse after sleeping
constantly hiccups
(page 63)

The author wrote that most newborns are able to finish a feeding in 15 to 20 minutes, and longer than 25 minutes is something to talk to a pediatrician about, page 140. 

Stir not shake!
On page 151 the author wrote that formula should never be shaken to mix it up due to the air bubbles that get in when shaken. If you must shake the bottle let is sit for 15 to 20 minutes. If time is important then just stir the formula instead of shaking it. The author wrote that shaking it "will ultimately wreak havoc on your baby's intestinal tract."

On page 189 the author provided a great chart of 4 medications that can be used to treat reflux. 

 Excellent resource! Seemed straight-forward and easy to read. 

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Dear Super Owen,

Dear Super Owen, at 27-months-old,

This picture of you was taken at your cousin Ronin's second birthday party in March. It was the most amazing day - bright sun, hot weather, enough that you could wear shorts and a T-shirt under your Superman costume. It was a super heroes birthday party so you wore the Superman cape and everything - with your blue Crocs of course! Your aunt just sent me this picture last month... and honestly, it made my world stop for a moment. 

This picture is YOU. The O that we adore and who makes us laugh harder than your dad and I think we've ever laughed before. This is also the O who drives us crazy sometimes because just before this type of laugh and smile graces your cute face you have probably done something you shouldn't have or something we have to say "no" to you for the thousandth time today. 

This super hero picture depicts the Owen who is bubbly and happy and social and busy, busy, busy. You are a very busy two-year-old boy. You're all boy in fact. I know people say that, but really, with you it's so true. Although you do have a baby doll that you adore and have a sweet high-pitched voice you use when talking to her, the same voice you use for your new baby sister. 

You are in this crazy fun stage right now, which for me as your mom is, well, crazy and fun at the same time. I am in awe of all you have learned. I find myself counting the words you just said all in a row all the time - 9 is the most I've counted recently. Nine words! Nine! Last summer I remember saying, "Wow, Jared, he just put two words together, can you believe that?!" Now you are saying sentences, real sentences. 

You know things. You know more than I ever imagined you'd know. Sometimes that is bad, like when you repeat a curse word we should not have said. But it's also very good, like when you point out every "motorcycle bike" on the highway and say in a sad voice with your nose all scrunched up, "no helmet ma, not safe," because I taught you people should wear helmets when riding motorcycles or bikes. Or when we are driving behind a car that looks just like your best friend's car and out of no where you tell me, "That Eli car, ma, in front us?" 

You remember when I tell you something, too. If at 7 a.m. I tell you before school that in the afternoon we are going to your uncle's house, it is the first thing you say to me when I walk through the door to pick you up at 3 p.m. 

You are so innocent, too. As smart as you are and as tall as you are - people think you are 4 years old instead of 2! - you still are a little growing boy, a toddler, just passed the baby stages really, I would like to think. You still jump up and down when excited, and you run in circles at the playground. You talk to yourself in your crib in the morning, and you suck your thumb when you are tired. You develop a shyness when we are at the playground among the bigger kids. You keep coming back to me saying, "Play with those kids, ma?" and I urge you to go see them, and you, my oh-so-social and active boy otherwise turn into this shy, nervous little guy, slowly inching toward the kids... before you turn the other way and giggle to yourself that you found a caterpillar on the ground. (Ah, the short attention span of a two-year-old!)

We were just at the playground yesterday when this all happened. There were bigger kids, maybe 8 years old, there. And I was sad. I was looking at you - running and jumping at the basketball hoop that was about 10 feet too high for you and yet you still acted like you could get it, "O do, mama, O do it!" And you were sucking your thumb as you watched the girl climb the monkey bars that I told you were too high for you right now. And your eyes were wide and your smile was bright... yet I could see the top of your diaper when you reached your arms up and your shirt came up a bit. 

And I realized that yes, you are sorta my baby still, and yet at the same time you aren't. You are this growing toddler, this growing boy. You are going to be one of those 8-year-olds all too soon. Really, I know it's not far away. I know one day soon we are going to be at that playground and you are going to be the kid hanging from those monkey bars and I'm going to wonder when I ever stopped being afraid of you getting hurt on those things and allowed you to try it. 

And here's the thing, Owen, I just hope that when you are hanging from those monkey bars someday, that you are laughing your head off, still screeching with excitement like you do now at two years old. I hope your face lights up with joy like it does now over the smallest things. 

I admit you as a two-year-old is not easy. Sometimes it's really hard actually. Keeping up with you and all your ball of energy is challenging when I'm exhausted and have a newborn also to tend to. Yet it's invigorating, too, seeing how happy-go-lucky you are; seeing how invested in the world you are. You love life, that's for sure. And that is refreshing. Yes, you are active and busy... but it's what makes you, you. I adore that about you. You don't ever want to slow down because you are too in love with all that is happening, you don't want to miss even a second of it. 

That Superman picture of you is everything I know and love about you as a two-year-old. You are sneaky and curious. You are so smart and capable. You are loving, laughable, and hysterical. You are so damn happy. You are emotional, too, and wear your heart on the outside. You are full of something I hope everyone who comes in contact with you can grasp, understand, and then take some for themselves to enjoy later. 

I adore you, O. You are certainly my super hero. You always will be. Even when you're 8. 

(really, we couldn't have waited until you were like in your 20s and I was in my 40s or 50s to call me "ma"?! Sounds so old...)

**be sure to check out this post and others at a GREAT new site
 where myself and others are featured bloggers!**

Friday, June 15, 2012

GOT GAS? tips for acid reflux - Tina N.

We have had so many questions about reflux and digestive issues in babies on the Mommy Stories Facebook group page recently and two amazing mommas seem to be our "resident go-to moms," diligently answering questions and sharing their experiences with fellow moms. I have learned that reflux is definitely more common than I ever knew about. To make the road a little easier to travel I asked a couple moms to answer some questions about what others can expect and some possible solutions. We will have more posts about this topic coming soon. Hope this helps!


Thank you to Tina Nightingale for answering these questions!
(This made me cry imagining the struggle this mom went through! Read on for a very heartfelt, true account of what it's like to have a baby with digestive issues.)

Before engaging in answering reflux questions I just want to add that there are no questions that will stump me when it comes to reflux and milk protein intolerance I know pretty much EVERYTHING there is to know. However there are many different approaches to managing this difficult diagnosis. Like everything else when raising children you have to find what works best for your baby. Keep in mind that not all babies with reflux are miserable and unhappy, some babies are what we call “happy spitters.”  Reflux affects each individual child in different ways and at different levels. I am simply speaking from my experience.

What is reflux like?
I wish I could sum up in one word what my journey through reflux represents but it is impossible unless you’ve been there to fully appreciate and comprehend what reflux means to us mom’s who are survivors of GERD. When my daughter was 3 months old I was given a short glimpse of what having a “normal” baby should be like … needless to say it didn’t last long. Hopelessness, frustration, anger, eagerness, selflessness, love, protectiveness are the words at the top of my list for how reflux made me feel. Bottom line I wanted my children “to be at peace” that is all I wanted … sounds simple doesn’t it?

What is this thing?
It is not without many hours of reading, e-mailing, questioning, demanding, crying, and screaming (at nurses yes I did) … that I was able to discover how strong I am and exactly what I needed to do for my children. I NEEDED TO BE HEARD AND LISTENNED TO. I required no less from my doctor than what I was asking him to do. I wish I could say I had a wonderful pediatrician but in retrospect he was awful.

A lonely road.
I am the one who did the research, I reached out to specialists in this field, I spent countless hours trying to find what works for my babies … their pediatrician simply followed my lead. I needed someone to be there with me, someone who understood, and could help me. I had no one. To this day my heart aches for mommies who have reflux babies because I know how lonely it can get.

On the other hand I celebrate the intimate relationship I have with my children … I believe that having a reflux baby makes you much more attuned to EVERYTHING. I developed an intuition I could have never reached … with this sense of deep intuition I got to know my children at a deeper level … and that deepness has reached places that are unimaginable and dream like. My children mean the world to me … they are my everything.

I hope that my challenges can bring closure to yours and help you through this journey full of obstacles.

1. How did you first know something was wrong with your baby's eating?
Both my kids were different when it came to reflux.

My son was a spitter, grunted, and seemed to always be straining. He did this from the time he was born.  He was an awful sleeper and never was content unless I held him. He would cry for hours arching his back and bringing his little legs up to his belly. It would take him 1 hour to drink 1 oz of formula and he would drink every 2 hours … you do the math. This was not normal … I knew that … everybody knew that but everyone just said well maybe that is just who he is … really as you read this statement does that sound RIGHT TO YOU!!!! Hummm NO right! I can’t remember how many times I was asked if he was my first baby? When I would say yes the typical response was silence accompanied with a simple smile. I learned quickly that this was people’s way to dismiss my concerns.

My daughter on the other hand was a screamer. The neighbor’s could hear her cry from a mile away. She was the “perfect” newborn until she turned 3 weeks old (3-4 weeks old is the typical age for the onset of reflux). She would cry from the moment she woke till she went to sleep. Lots of hiccups, wet burps, sour breath, gagging, drooling, and she was a terrible sleeper (a catnaper ... typical of reflux babies). She would roll and squirm around constantly in her sleep … from pain. She would arch her back and pull her little legs up to her chest and cry. She would also stiffen and scream. At one point she started refusing to eat and was losing weight. She didn’t eat for 72 hours straight! I am not joking.

In both cases my doctor would say well they might outgrow reflux let’s wait and see! I remember telling him, when my daughter refused to eat, WAIT and SEE???? for her to stave she has not eaten in 72 hours. I am not sure what he wanted to wait and see … I guess that was his way of saying I don’t know in a professional manner. Wait and see!!!! Hummm I don’t think so DOC!


2. What signs should someone look for to know if their child has reflux or digestive issues?

           1.Irritability, excessive crying or screaming
2.Vomiting or regurgitation
3.Appearing to be in pain
4.Recurrent hiccups
5.‘Wet’ burp or hiccups
6.Congestion, ‘snuffling’ or appearing to have a cold
7.Bad or sour smelling breath
8.Feeding issues
- displaying a fear of food or unwillingness to eat
- pulling away and arching their back
- crying during or after feeds
- refusal to feed or only taking a small amount despite being hungry
- comfort feeding- wanting to feed or suck frequently
      9.Sleeping issues
- catnapping during the day
- difficulty settling
- frequent night waking (though some refluxers do sleep well at night)
- restless or easily disturbed sleep
11.Gulping, Gagging, spluttering
12.Difficulty swallowing
13.Respiratory problems e.g. choking, coughing, wheezing or frequent chest infections
14.Weight issues e.g. inadequate weight gain, weight loss or excessive weight gain
15.Frequent red, sore throat, with infection not necessarily a factor
16.Recurrent ear, throat or sinus infections or croup
17.Drooling or excessive salivation
18.Dental erosion/decay
19.Gagging themselves (using their hand/fist/fingers)

3. Is there a difference between having reflux and digestive issues?

There is a difference between reflux and any digestive issues. The most common digestive issue with children that present with reflux is protein intolerance. As for other digestive issues such as malabsorption etc … I can’t speak to those, as I am not well informed.

Most experts debate about reflux and protein intolerance. There seems to be no consensus about whether reflux is caused solely by protein intolerance. I can’t debate this one either since both of my kids did better without milk protein based formula. However, they were also simultaneously medicated. What helped??? Medication or milk protein free formula? … I have no idea.

We were referred to a GI specialist when my daughter was one year old and still had not outgrown reflux. The GI specialist we see said she would have changed the milk first and then see. In her experience most kids need both milk protein free formula (neocate … I call it the Golden formula) and medication for reflux.

4. What treatment did you use to help your child?
There are many different treatments … this is what worked for my children.
My son:
Medication – Zantac (until he turned 1 year old)
Formula – Alimentum thickened with oatmeal cereal (rice cereal would constipate him) (until he turned 1 and then went on to cow’s milk)
Food – All dairy products were not introduce until he was 1 year old unless the     
milk was cooked such as in mac and cheese.
My daughter:
Medication: Zantac once a day (until it stopped working or I don’t know if it even ever worked she was 3 ½ months) then Prevacid solutabs 2x a day (until she was 13 months) Zantac again twice a day (from 13 months and still on it at 16 months).
Formula – Nutramigen thickened with rice cereal (until she was 3 ½ months) then Neocate formula thickened with rice cereal (from 3 ½ months until 13 months,  then Almond milk (since she was 13 months).
Food – All dairy products are a BIG NO NO …. She will have ice cream and cheese but very limited …. NO milk and NO yogurt.
Sleep: On her Belly from 3 weeks old

Management tips for both - head of bed elevated, burp frequently and well, feed slowly and feed often, hold upright for 45 minutes after each feed, wear baby, hold as much as possible.

This support association was a God send:

5. Are there specific formulas that work well for reflux, gas, etc.?
YES! Try Nutramigen or Alimentum if those don’t make a difference then you will have to go NEOCATE. All other formulas are all the same and it is a myth that one will help over the other … I call it coincidence more than “the fix” and this is research based. It is simple milk or soy protein (if your baby can’t tolerate milk protein chances are he won’t tolerate soy protein either) is in all formulas except Neocate. The difference is Alimentum and Nutramigen completely hydrolyze (fancy way to say the milk protein is pre-digested) the milk protein in their formula. Good start and Enfamil gentleease partially hydrolyze the milk protein (so it is somewhat digested) and then you have lactose free and soymilk. Experimenting with formula for a reflux baby is a waste of time like I said go straight to hydrolyzed milk protein formula and if that doesn’t help then Neocate … problem solved in a matter of 2 weeks and not months. 

6. Does gas have to go hand in hand with reflux?
Well yes and no … if you look up reflux alone it can cause gas … like I mentioned above most babies with reflux have milk protein intolerance. Milk protein intolerance causes gas.

7. What ideas do you have that helped - propping baby up in bed with wedge, burping between ounces, etc.?
Get educated and seek support. Reach out to other moms that are in the same situation … and when your baby outgrows reflux (and they will) lend a hand to someone who is in the process of managing reflux.
8. What is the best advice somebody gave you or info the doctor gave you about this?
My doctor was not helpful in this situation … my grandmother who is 93 has had 16 kids said to me … listen to nobody but your baby and then fight for him … she understood what nobody else did …and yes I fought for my kids and I take no well meaning criticism from no doctor … the specialist we saw when my daughter was 1 year old criticized the treatment she was on … I clearly said to her exactly these words: “No amount of degree or experience you have gives you the right to even comment on my daughter’s treatment and the decision my husband and I made along the way … this journey is tough enough as it is … we are happy to be here and look forward to exploring my daughter’s future plan for reflux management … if you can’t abstain yourself from commenting about the past then we should part ways immediately” yes I said it exactly like this … my husband’s jaw fell and the doctor had no idea what to say …. This momma was done with well meaning people who can’t seem to keep their opinions to themselves … I have worked and struggled way too hard to have my daughter finally be at peace that I wasn’t going to be criticized at any level for anything we did … nobody has as ant right to do that.

We love my daughter’s specialist … after that encounter she knew where I stood and we looked at the future working together to get my daughter medication free and possibly have the ability to enjoy a big Ice Cream cone in the near future.

9. What is something annoying people have said or done related to this experience with your child? 
1. Criticize how we treated our daughter (medication, formula, etc.)
2. Is this your first baby? (Yes it's my first baby but I still have a brain. I didn’t turn incapable of making decisions and knowing what my baby needs once I gave birth to him)
3. Oh let’s wait and see she will outgrow it! (hummm I am here because she has refused all source of nutrition for the past 72 hours … not sure what you want to see)

10. Will your baby have this forever? When do they typically out grow it?
98% of babies with reflux outgrow it by 1year old … the rest mostly by 2 years old … 1% of those that have not outgrown it by 1 year old will never outgrow it or will only outgrow it by the time they are 6-7 years old …

11. Any books or web sites that helped you?

The Reflux Book, A Parent's Guide to Gastro esophageal Reflux :

12. What is your advice to moms who know something is wrong and think it could be gas/reflux/digestive issues?
If your baby shows any sign of reflux and your doctor says let’s wait and see then ask to see a GI specialist … If your doctor says well let’s try this ask to see a GI specialist … when your doctor wants to experiment with your child it is because he doesn’t know what to do either … don’t take no for an answer my friend waited to long to stand up to her pediatrician and her son suffered for it … he is 3 and has a severely damaged GI tract it will probably take years for him to recover.

Gas drops and all that natural stuff DOES NOT WORK!!!!!!!! It is a coincidence or a myth … they might help but it does not solve the problem.

13. What else can you share about your story?
As hard as it is please remember that this too shall pass … the journey is long and heart wrenching but in the end well worth it.  You will make mistakes and have great regrets but in retrospect you will have done what you could and what you knew at the time.

Both my children are wonderful children and I cannot imagine not having gone through this journey with them. What this journey has taught me is the true meaning of perseverance and hope. You do not receive the ability to persevere or to be hopeful you acquire it.

The few words I spoke at my almost breaking point while crying my heart out because I didn’t think I could take one more day of this journey was: “THIS IS SO HARD … IT IS SO HARD BECAUSE I CAN’T GIVE UP! I JUST DON’T HAVE THAT LUXURY.”  Truly think about these words and what they mean … I said this to a nurse practitioner that requested to see me after I was frantic on the phone because my daughter had not eaten for 72 hours. These words are etched into my heart and soul and bring great meaning to my life. This was a moment in my life that if I could have I would have given up but didn’t because my kids mean the world to me … in that moment and time I finally “felt” what unconditional love, perseverance, and hope meant … this was the moment that defined everything I was, am, and became!

Nobody’s hands can comfort your baby as well as yours when he or she needs you the most. And nobody will fight as hard as you to bring peace to his or her little bodies.

One day you will look back and see this journey as a strengthening moment in your life … you will see it as moment that defined who you are as a person, a woman, and a mom. These moments don’t come everyday seize this moment to define yourself and learn from your struggles. I sure did.

TTC - the tough road to mommyville - Kim P.

A heartbreaking story by a beautiful woman desperate to become a mom... with a surprise ending! Thank you to Kim Parker for writing with such honesty and sharing her journey. 

(I had the privilege of photographing these two love birds' wedding a couple of years ago, so sweet!)

Trying to Conceive 
We have been trying to conceive for a year this month. Nick and I decided we were ready to be parents when we were financially stable. We realized there was something missing. We enjoyed our time together but wanted someone else to share these moments as well. 

The most difficult part in trying to get pregnant is watching it happen for everyone else and wondering why not you, but also the dreaded negative test every month. 

The troubled journey
We sought out a fertility doctor to help us figure out why this wasn't happening for us. The doctor diagnosed me with PCOS, Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome, meaning my body produced too much testosterone and not enough estrogen and I wasn't able to start a period on my own without medication. 

The doctor decided to kick start my period by using progesterone tablets which worked in about ten days, to help me ovulate. I started out taking a medicine called Clomid. The first round I ovulated but my follicles were still too small to produce a healthy egg so we waited for a period which did come and started round two of Clomid. This time I did not ovulate and did not start a period on my own. The third round was also a bust. I was defeated after the third round and nothing was happening. The doctor decided to switch up the medications and put me on a breast cancer medication called Femara. This is my first round and so far so good! 

What is it like to have difficulty conceiving?
Throughout all the rounds I have had many ultrasounds to monitor my follicles and many blood tests to check ovulation. The feeling of not being able to get pregnant is a feeling of worthlessness as a woman, why is my body not doing what it was made to do? It's frustrating and emotional. You want something so bad, yet you cannot have it. 

I always tell people it is like having a part of your heart ripped out. 

What helps you through?
What has helped me through this has been the love and support from my husband and also the support from women out there going through the same thing. I have joined many TTC blogs with women just like me. It helps to know that I am not alone. 

Some advice...
The thing that I dislike hearing the most is "it will happen" and "don't stress about it." It's like telling someone who smokes that they can't buy cigarettes or someone who bites their nails to quit cold turkey. You think about this every day, every second, and it's not easy to not think about it. Also even though you tell me it will happen I have gone through a year of disappointment so it's hard to believe. 

If I had any advice to give it would be to join a support group with other women and also don't be afraid to cry once and a while. It doesn't make you weak! 

If someone you know is having trouble conceiving just let them know you are a shoulder and an ear for them. That's the best thing anyone can give. 

Hope for the future.
My hope is someday to have a healthy baby and to bring them into a loving home and family. I know in my heart I was meant to be a mom and that my time will come. My special bundle is just taking a little longer, but when it finally arrives it will bring so much joy to our little family! 


Kim and Nick are expecting their first baby bundle this winter! She found out she was pregnant a few days after writing this post! CONGRATS and can't wait to meet Baby Parker!

Monday, June 4, 2012

party planning 101 ~ Sarah T.!

Planning a child's birthday party should be a fun experience - for all involved, not just the child. For me, planning my son's birthday party this year was all about acting like I was a kid again myself! I got to be all creative and silly with his themed tractor party. He loved it. No, he didn't get a ton of what I did for the party, but he loved that it was all about tractors and all for him. I know many moms though have no idea where to start when they think about planning a fun themed birthday party for their child. Now that we have Pinterest in the world it makes things a lot easier. I'll be writing a second blog post explaining the ins and outs of Pinterest and how it's a great resource for we moms. In this post though I've asked one of my good friends, Sarah Tibbetts, about her experience planning a couple of GREAT and very creative and cute birthday parties for her son, Eli. Enjoy this interview for some great tips on how to plan an AWESOME child's birthday party!

1. How did you decide on a particular theme for a birthday party? Why did you choose that theme?
I decide on a theme based on my children’s interest. My son fell in love with Disney’s Cars and Lightning McQueen six months or so before his third birthday party, so I knew that had to be the theme for his party in May. Also, we were due to have our second child in March, so I felt that my son would really appreciate and deserve an extra special birthday party after having his world turned upside down with the invasion of his little sister!

(Cars photos from Sarah Tibbetts)

2. What's the good thing about having a themed birthday party?
Having a theme makes it easier and more fun for me to plan. I am not partiuarly creative on my own, so if I have a theme to work from it’s much easier for me to find decorations and inspirations. For the toddler and preschooler ages it is also extra fun for the birthday child. My son talked for weeks about his “Lightning McQueen party!” and was so delighted by the images of Cars characters and race themed items at the party. I’m sure he would have had just as much fun at an unthemed party, but it made it even more exciting for him.

3. Where did you get a majority of your ideas for the party? 

Yes, I got the majority of my ideas from Pinterest. Some of them I also made up once I had some other ideas to coordinate with. For example, I all of my food had theme related names. The first few (ie- Doc’s Dipsticks- for carrot and celery sticks in dip) and others I made up myself. It helps that I have been forced had the pleasure of watching both Cars movies more times than I can count, so I am very well versed in all that is Cars.

4. When using Pinterest or other sites, how did you go about actually finding the ideas, what did you type in, etc.?

I did searches on Pinterest and Google by typing in Cars, Lightning McQueen, or race car birthday party. The great thing about Pinterest is once you find one idea pinned by someone else they often have a whole board dedicated to that idea. It also worked in my favor that Cars is a very popular party for young boys so there were lots of ideas out there!

(Cars photos from Sarah Tibbetts)

5. Moms are busy, so how did you go about carrying out your ideas for the party? How long in advance before the party did you start looking for ideas and making things? What help did you need?
I started planning several months before the party. I started a document on my computer and a board on Pinterest to keep track of ideas. I made my best friend a collaborator on the pinterest board so she could pin ideas she came across as well. I purchased all non-perishable items and and started making things about three months before the party. This was because I was a month away from having my daughter and I knew once she arrived I would not have the time or energy to prepare for the party. I had everything that I could planned, purchased and prepared before she was born. I had a shopping list and all recipes ready, so all that remained was to buy perishables and prepared the food. I also made sure to keep the food really simple so it wasn’t very difficult on the day of the party.

6. What is your advice for somebody wanting to plan a super fun creative themed kids' party?

To go with what your child loves, but keep things simple. My son was most overjoyed by his personalized Lightning McQueen t-shirt and the cake. I did a few other things that I thought were really great and he couldn’t have cared less about. I realized as I was planning the party that my son wouldn’t understand or notice some of the details, but the ideas were fun and I had the time and energy to do it all. Now with two parties to plan each year I’m sure they won’t all be as detailed as this one was, but I plan to really focus on what is most important to my child and let the rest go! One more piece of advice is to ask for help. Two of my best friends came over several hours before the party and worked diligently on projects I assigned them.

7. Share a few of your super cool ideas that you've used at a party.
My son had a great Thomas the Train cake last year that my husband and I made and an amazing Cars cake that my friend made this year. I had Cars related names for all of the food, even simple things like “Piston Cup Potato Chips.” We made some really cute candy and fruit cars and graham cracker treats that looked like stoplights. I had a simple bean bag tire toss game and some temporary tattoos themed as “Ramone’s House of Body Art.” These are both examples of simple things I was able to tie them into the theme.

8. What are some cardinal rules you follow when implementing a kids' party (for example, the time of the party, when to serve cake or open presents, whether to make your kid sit and open presents or run and play, who to invite, etc. )?
I always have parties at 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon (scheduled around nap time!) so that I don’t feel like I have to serve a full meal. At this time of day some basic snacks are just fine. We usually let people arrive and mingle for 30 minutes, then have cake, then open presents. I like to have my son sit and open presents, but he’s always been interested in it. If he wasn’t I wouldn’t force him to. I also talked with him several times about saying thank you as he opened presents and moving on to the next one even if he really wants to keep playing with one. I aim to have all of the “formal” party stuff done within 2 hours of the start time. After that I want people to feel free to stay and hang out or head home if they need to. I invite immediate family (grandparents, aunts, uncles) and close friends. We have small families so for us this is about 30 people.

9. What stores do you get cool deals at for party supplies?
I bought basic supplies (tablecloths, plastic silverwear, plates, etc) at the Dollar Tree. I ordered other decorations online from Party City and Birthday Express online. For his last two birthdays I have ordered a personalized shirt for my son from sellers on Etsy. He’s loved wearing them both well after the party!

11. Any other things about the parties that you're proud of or excited about to share with other moms?
Don’t expect too much from yourself or feel like you have to live up to others. Like I mentioned above, remember who the party is for and what they enjoy and focus your energy there. In this situation I happened to have the time and energy to focus on tiny details, there were so many ideas out there and I had a lot of fun planning the party, but honestly my son didn’t notice a lot of the things I did. It was great to have other party-goers enjoy the details, but the party was for my son and if I had done half as much he still would have had just as much fun! I will be keeping this in mind if I start to feel guilty as I plan simpler parties in the future for him and my daughter!