Wednesday, December 13, 2017

A Diagnosis of ADHD Isn't the End of the World.

         My oldest child and I are alike in so many ways. Being so alike, however causes us to butt heads because we know how to get under each other's skin. But because he's a lot like me, I am also able to understand a little bit about how he's feeling, what can cause him to get angry, or how to handle a situation so it doesn't blow up in his face. I've been there, I've reacted the same way.

Last year, my son was having a difficult time in school. I was called into the office almost every day because the school wasn't able to handle him. On one particular afternoon, I decided enough was enough and demanded to have a meeting with my son's teacher, the principal, and the social worker who works at the school. I threw down my gauntlet and told them that things needed to be changed. The principal (who had been a huge butt kisser) got called away for something and when she was gone, I asked the social worker, "Do you think that there is a chance that my son has ADHD or some version of it?" and he said, "I think there's a big possibility that he does." With help from the social worker, we were able to have the school psychologist come in and assess my son. She gave his present teacher, his teacher from last year, his case worker from this year and last, the social worker, and my husband and I a questionnaire to fill out. From the questionnaire, we found out that he had traits of a child with ADHD and varying degrees of anxiety- probably because he wasn't able to learn the way that a focused child could learn.

          Right after we reconvened, we all talked about the next steps. I changed my children's primary care physician to one who would be able to make appointments and specialized in ADHD in children. We met with the physician and she was impressed by the actions we took and our involvement with getting a diagnosis. She didn't have to do an assessment because we had one right there with us from the people who see him everyday. She told us that most children only get one done through their parents and because we did it the way we did with others involved, the questionnaire wasn't biased in anyway. She talked to us about options and recommended that we do medication. She spoke to us about the side effects and what each medicine would do for him.

          She also asked a question that surprised us. She asked, "Do either one of you lean towards ADHD tendencies?"
          My husband looked to me and I raised my hand. "I do."
         "It's very common that children who have ADHD have a parent who also carries that trait. Have you been diagnosed?"
         "No."
         "You should. I have ADHD, too and there is such a difference when I'm on the medication then when I'm off. I'm more focused and don't forget everything and can finish a sentence without getting distracted."
          "Maybe I can clean my house and it won't look like a hoarder moved in before it's clean because I can actually focus on one task."
          "Exactly!"

        So.... We started my son on medication. It was an extreme ride between convincing my son to take it, trying the different dosages to find one that works, waiting for refill dates to approach, fights with the insurance company to approve a dose that worked best, and so on and so forth. We eventually found it, the perfect dose. Don't be afraid to ask your doctor questions. One of our biggest fights with our son was trying to get him to take his pill. His gag reflex was in overdrive and the only way that we could get him to take it was to open the capsule and pour it into some applesauce. If we didn't ask her if it was ok, she wouldn't researched it to find out that it was and our fight for something better would have resumed.

       His teacher said that he's a model student when he takes it. He still participated in class and is still extremely creative. He is still him, but more focused. We had worried that when we gave him the medicine, he would disappear. The doctor and the social worker, who also has ADHD, assured us that medication is different from years ago. It is made now so children don't go bonkers or be plain and boring. It's designed to work with your child's brain so they can focus and that's it. They will still be creative and be themselves. It was a relief to see that it was true. In fact, I think it made my son even more creative because he could focus on the task at hand.

        Do you remember when I said that my son and I are alike in many ways? It's very true, but there is one thing that is different, besides the fact that I'm 30 and a girl while he's 8 and a boy; ADHD is more difficult to diagnose for girls. When I was younger and even in college, I had a tough time remembering to do my homework and also had anger/behavioral issues. I just looked like a lazy, bad kid, kind of like how my wonderful son was perceived, but really, those are just common issues with kids with ADHD. My son has gotten the chance to be able to learn and get good grades. He's able to control his frustration with change and gets to be a model student. I didn't have that option because ADHD was still sort of a new concept and a question was never raised about me having it. I recognize it now as I'm older and I watch my son. I used to play house with my pencils and during math, my numbers were assigned genders and I daydreamed all of the time. I never remembered homework until the teacher asked us to turn it in. It took me longer to learn to read than other kids, but once it clicked, I loved to read and I love to write. I still jump around from point to point and when I clean my house, you can't tell because I don't focus on one room, I jump from one task to another. I have to make a point to get working and focus my energy on getting things done. Inviting people to my house is a big motivation.

        Having my child diagnosed with ADHD wasn't the end of the world. It was actually a relief. It gave me some answers and now I know that my child's poor behavior wasn't because I was raising him wrong, it was because of his biology and thankfully, there is something that we can do for him. He's going to be able to learn better and behave better because he's going to be able to focus. He's not going to get frustrated every time a subject is changed or something out of the norm or unexpected happens. He's going to be able to adjust to things and he's going to be able to succeed because he doesn't have the lack of focus holding him back.

       Don't be afraid to advocate for your child. If you suspect that your child has a mental block of any sort, don't be discouraged. Learn about it and start looking for ways to help. Medicating your child doesn't mean that you're a bad parent, and having your child on medication doesn't mean that they are broken or that you've done anything wrong. Biology happens and in my case, I am probably the parent who gave my child that gene, but with support, great things can happen now that we know.



Thursday, December 7, 2017

Getting Turned Away

     I knew that it could happen, but it has never happened to me before. My son had a dentist appointment today. They were going to put him under so they could fill a couple of his teeth (one hazard of nursing your child for over a year).  In order for them to do that, they wanted us there at 8:00 AM so he would be sleepy or sleeping by 8:30.

     I've driven to this office before. The first time that I drove there, I was an hour early for the appointment. This time, however, I arrived at 8:30, in time for the actual scheduled appointment, but they turned me away because they said it could take 30 minutes for him to fall asleep and it would put them behind schedule. It didn't matter that I had already driven an hour and a half to get there. It didn't matter to them that the appointment was scheduled at 8:30 and that there was no one at the desk when I first came in and had to wait an extra 5 minutes saying, "Hello?" They didn't care because it was going to put them behind.

      I try not to get angry for things like this, but boy did I get angry. My drive was only supposed to take 40 minutes at most. It did not. For some reason, my GPS thought it would take me away from the road construction that was happening and instead, I had to wait for trains to pass, lights to turn green, and average morning traffic. I have only used this GPS one other time and used it this time because my husband told me that it had never steered him wrong.... I could have screamed, and I definitely yelled in my car and thumped my head against the seat each time I got held up at another stop light. If it could have gone wrong, it did.

      If I was there early and had to wait because another person showed up late, I would be upset, but I would understand. If I was a business and I knew that someone was coming from way out of town, which they did, I might have tried to work something out in a way better than they did today. It took me an hour and a half to drive there and I made it back home in 40 minutes. The traffic was the same. It wasn't like I was unprepared. I left earlier than my gps and mapquest said to leave, but it didn't matter.

     You know, many, many years ago and man and his pregnant fiancĂ© were travelling to get their taxes done. They were going at the pace that they were allowed to go in their condition and they were turned away several times. There wasn't any room in any of the inns and they actually had to find a place to stay in a stable with the horses and animals. This woman was very pregnant and ended up having her baby next to some cows or horses. The place was a cesspool for germs and probably smelled awful. Despite all that, they were grateful and they were used to fulfill a prophecy about a man who would die for our sins. When it's put that way, I guess that getting turned away isn't so terrible.

      Maybe we were supposed to get there late today. My whole household has been sick on and off. Maybe if he were to go through the procedure, he might have gotten an infection or became more sick. I don't know what could have happened, but hey, I guess, on the plus side, my son gets to go to school, today.

Monday, December 4, 2017

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Love

     

I haven't made it a secret that I didn't want kids as I was growing up from recent blog posts. Whenever I saw a baby or held one, I was one of those people whose eyes were huge and panicky. I never knew what to do with babies and couldn't wait to pass one off. If I ever told you your baby was cute, in the past, I was probably only saying that to be nice and really didn't mean it. "Wow, Brittany, that was really harsh". Yeah, probably, but that was just who I was. Somewhere along the line, probably when my maturity started to set in, I was tolerant of babies and thought that maybe, just maybe, I would like to have some of my own.

      As a first time parent, let me tell you, it's terrifying! The thought of, "What did I get myself into?" as I was pushing my 8lb baby out of my body occurred a few times, but when I had that baby and he was placed into my arms, I looked into that ugly, smushed face and thought, "Wow, this is the most magnificent thing I've ever made. He's so handsome. Squished, but handsome." ("Brittany! What a terrible thing to say about your baby!"-Um, hello.... babies come out squishy and looking like E.T. Give them a couple of hours to dewrinkle and turn a flattering shade and place them into those cute little hospital gowns and blankets, then you will see a cute baby.)

       So, you figure that you'll love your child, but you're never fully aware of how much until they are with you, in your arms. That love just overflows and you can't stop looking at your baby. Every few minutes, you look at them and place little kisses on their tiny, head. It just envelopes you and you know that if anything were to happen to your baby, you would avenge anyone who did them wrong.

      Having babies is addicting. There is that unconditional love and when your baby gets older, they don't need you as much. Then, when you see someone else's baby, your womb literally aches. When you look at your spouse, they say, "Don't even think about it," because when you look at them, they see your hopeful eyes, the ones that say, "Let's have another," and they are thinking, "Woman, we just had one." Babies are addicting, almost like a drug. When they are new and shiny, you're tired and euphoric; an odd combination that works.

       There's not always a logical thought when it comes to wanting to have another baby. Some blame it on hormones and that seems right to me. I didn't use to cry at every movie or commercial that I watched, but those hormones turned me into my mother and I used to make fun of her for doing that. Oxytocin, adrenaline, endorphins, all hormones that make you love, feel excited and happy, those are all in overdrive when you bond with your baby and they NEVER go away.... Ok, so yes, they do, but you've experienced motherhood so everything reminds you of your child so you talk about them to all who will make eye contact with you.

      "Well, I think I know what it feels like. I have nieces and nephews and I love them to pieces." Well so do I, and I do love them to pieces, but it's not the same special bond that you have for your children. Your children are a result of something that love made. They were made from scratch and at the end of the day, they're yours. It's just more special. I'm sure the feeling is the same for adoption. You can like-even love your brother's car, but it's not your own. If something happens to your brother's vehicle, you're not going to be heart broken or stressed out about it like you would if it was your car. However if you take over payments and start driving your brother's vehicle and it's become yours, it's going to hurt if you get into a fender bender or see that someone has dinged it up in the parking lot. I know that this isn't the best analogy, but hopefully you get what I'm saying. Having kids that are your own, is just... indescribable.

       I knew that if I had kids that I would love them, but I wasn't prepared for the love that I could contain. I didn't know that having kids would make me a better person because I wanted to be better for them. I didn't know that having kids was going to make me so proud of them. I didn't know that having kids was going to change me, my likes and interest. I didn't know. I suspected that I would feel love for them, but I didn't know that it would be so consuming. I didn't know.

Edit: I had a friend who made a very good point. Don't feel bad if love isn't instantaneous.  It doesn't happen to everyone the same way or right away. For some mom's they don't always get that chance to bond with their baby right away. Ex: My friend's daughter was taken to the NICU right away. The baby had contracted an infection or something that caused her baby to be incubated and the mother wasn't able to bond with the baby right away and that first skin to contact is important in those first moments. Imagine the fear and worry that she had for her baby. I can't speak for my friend, but to be a hormonal, emotional, worried wreck, it probably caused anger or a little bit of resentment towards the baby. It just sometimes happens that way.

      Many times when someone gives their baby up for adoption, it is recommended that the birth mother not hold that new baby because that skin to skin connection is so powerful that someone who made an informed decision beforehand can get emotionally attached.

      Those are a couple of cases, but daddy's don't go through the hormonal and emotional battles that mommy's go through, but they still love their babies. It can take time, but that skin to skin, holding, hearing, experiencing baby gets you invested and eventually, that love seeps in, kind of like the same way it happens when dating. Love isn't always instant and at first sight, but once you get to know them, it becomes apparent.


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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Forgiveness


     I'm not the same person, today that I was yesterday or even a few years ago. when I was in high school, I could be a bully or just a brat, and I'm not talking about a sausage. There were things that I did, was mean to people who didn't deserve it, or took things out on people who just happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

     Now, when I am full of anxiety or worry, I wake up from nightmares about things that happened in my high school years. After a while, I just don't want to go to sleep because I know that I will dream of a certain person and it would just be awful. I have learned that when I talk to that person and apologize, that those dreams go away.

     A few weeks ago, I reconnected with someone that I grew up with. I was not very nice to him, or at least in my adult life, I feel that I wasn't very nice. I messaged him and I apologized. Can you guess what he said?

     He didn't say, "You're right, you should apologize. You were mean and hurtful." What he said, instead had me in tears. "I don't remember you being mean or a jerk. All I remember are fun times and the bad memories never come to mind. Grace and Peace to you, my friend."

     Years of worry and stress and hanging on to the past just disappeared. The weight that I was carrying was lifted from my shoulders and I knew that I was going to be ok. Just as I was forgiven, I was also able to forgive myself. The Bible says in Philippian's 4:6

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 
I was so relieved to get forgiveness, but later that day, I was like the man who was forgiven, but couldn't forgive his servant. See, I had seen forgiveness from an old friend and then later that day, I had gotten on my child for something that he did and I can't even remember what it was.

Matthew 18:21-35
The Parable of the Unmerciful Servant
21 Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”
22 Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.[a]
23 “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. 24 As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold[b] was brought to him. 25 Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.
26 “At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ 27 The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.
28 “But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins.[c] He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded
29 “His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’
30 “But he refused. Instead, he went of and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. 31 When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.
32 “Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. 33 Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ 34 In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.
35 “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”
    It was when my husband said, "Britt, do you think that you're overreacting that the realization had hit me. I was humbled and I asked my son for his forgiveness and that parable came to mind
    Forgiveness, it's more than saying sorry. We've been teaching my youngest that it's not enough to just say sorry. We have to stop the behavior that is requiring the forgiveness. He hasn't quite gotten it yet. Now, when he knows that he's in trouble he shouts out, "I'm sorry! Sorry means stop!" Well, yes, in a way, it does, but being sorry requires an effort to stop doing the offence. It means to repent because if you say sorry over and over again for the same thing, that sorry quickly loses its meaning. 
     In the same way, if you keep saying that your forgive someone, that means that you can't hold that thing over their head. It also means to forget- I mean, you can't always forget something, but if you truly forgive someone for something they did against you, you won't use that in future arguments. You won't bring it up from time to time or say, "I told you so" later. 
     When true apologies are made and true forgiveness is offered, burdens are lifted. I felt so light and happy after hearing from that friend. I had been so anxious about something that happened in the past, dwelling on the anger that I held then and how I transformed it into meanness or witchiness that I was reliving a nightmare over and over again. This friend didn't have to say the words, "I forgive you" for me to be freed. Just to hear that I didn't damage him or any of my other friends in offences that I remember being truly awful to only hear that they were very minor and the good that I did outweighed the bad, made me realize that I'm my biggest critic and enemy. That I am fear and anxiety. You see, I didn't need forgiveness from them, they didn't hold grudges. I needed forgiveness from myself. I needed to let the past go. I needed to remember that I'm not the same person that I used to be and that I can live in the present as a good, Christian woman. I can cast my burdens and fears and anxieties on the Lord for he cares for ME! 1 Peter 5:7
     If God can forgive us, then we should also allow us to forgive ourselves.


Thursday, November 23, 2017

Thanksgiving

     So I really don't have a lot of time to post this because I'm supposed to be putting things together for Thanksgiving, but I wanted to remind everyone that this is a time to be thankful and not political.

     I was playing a game of free Bingo on Facebook yesterday where others were also playing and talking about the snow. I told everyone how magical I thought it would be if it snowed the night of the American Thanksgiving (Some people were from Canada and other countries) to welcome the Christmas holidays and also magical on Christmas Eve and morn. Well, because people are people and some like conflict, one of them says, "Not me, I'm Indian." At the time, the comment flew over my head and was thinking he was referencing the snow. Now that I've had a day to ponder over his comment I realized that he was either trying to be funny or he was legitimately offended by the Thanksgiving holiday because of his race.

     There is a lot to be angry about, and years ago the white people and other races of people came to America and little by little shoved the Native American race to a small corner/area of the United States. Yes, I agree that it was horrible. Thanksgiving may not have happened the way that we were taught in school, where we, the white people, were so glad to have the Native Americans (Indians) teach us how to survive our first few years in a land that we took over. The truth may suck, but you know, I don't think about Thanksgiving that way, anymore.

     I'm not one of those people who helped to push those over long ago. I'm not a slave driver, nor will I ever be. I'm just a woman who is thankful that she can prepare a large meal for her family. I'm grateful that my husband is able to provide for us so we can eat more than any human being needs to eat in a day. I'm glad that my husband has this day off so that we can spend time with him. I'm thankful that I have friends that I can welcome into my home because I have a roof over my head.

     Can't we just all agree that today is a special day to be thankful? "Well we can show that we are thankful everyday to the ones we love." Yes we can and we should! But really, just as we are thankful, aren't we glad that we are eating these special dishes that we only make like maybe once or twice a year? Proclaiming this day as a day of thanks gives us an excuse to indulge- and trust me, as a  dieter half of the year, it's nice to have an excuse and not feel guilty about eating four slices of pie because you must sample them all.



Friday, November 17, 2017

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Sleep

 

 A couple of weeks ago, I posted a blog about how to prepare for motherhood. Jokingly, I said that there really isn't a way to be totally prepared, but it you bought a cat, you might get a small taste of what it was like as far as lack of sleep was concerned. I thought it was funny, I hope you did too.

     Before I found out I was pregnant, I didn't get the morning sickness or heartburn right away like other women I know who have had babies before me. What I did get, however was exhaustion. Just pure exhaustion.

     My husband and I got married the summer before we were to start our senior year of college. Our families lived on two different sides of Illinois and we wanted to be together when we had to start applying for jobs for after we graduated, that way we wouldn't have to be at separate ends of the state planning for a wedding and a future because we would be together as we planned.

     Well, towards the end of April, the final stretch of senior year, I noticed that I was so tired! At first I blamed the cats and school, we were, after all, preparing for finals. At some point, I wondered why my lady's time hadn't come so I went and got those fancy sticks that you pee on and sure enough, a second pink line appeared.


     I don't know how I made it through the end of semester and passed. I was so tired all of the time. I was falling asleep in my classes and could barely write the 13+ page reports assigned to me and the other students. Studying for finals was also out of the question because I just COULD NOT stay awake. I remember my husband saying, "Britt, you have to study" or "Britt, you need to finish your homework" and me crying because the thought of keeping my eyes open to do something that just didn't interest me at the time, exhausted me even further.

     After my first trimester, I perked up- especially after the morning sickness I also had subsided. I'm so glad, however, that I wasn't that tired for my other two babies. I sincerely think that my IO Psychology professor only passed me because his wife was going through the same thing with pregnancy as well. I was very fascinated with his class and his enthusiastic teaching, but couldn't stay awake. I apologized to him and told him about my condition and he congratulated me and took pity on me. Thanks Prof. W!

     I did pass my finals and my classes, barely! Thankfully, a D+ counted as a passing grade. I had never felt that exhausted before, even after the baby was born. I always knew that having a baby was going to leave me feeling exhausted for a few months, maybe years and that it was something that most parents get used to, but I was not prepared for that level of exhaustion so early on in my pregnancy.

     Did you have a hibernation form of exhaustion with your pregnancy? What did you do to help keep you awake?

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Monday, November 13, 2017

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Hair

 

When you see a pregnant woman walking down the street, you'll most likely spot her with her hand over her round belly, protecting and comforting the life that is growing inside of her. If she's very far along, she may even be supporting her back with her other hand as she also waddles along the sidewalk. Her hair is long and gorgeous and she's glowing.



     Strangers smile at her and may even reach into her comfort zone, unasked, and touch her belly. People generally seem to be nicer to her because she is pregnant. She may be snippy, or she may not be. A woman in that delicate situation can be unpredictable. I mean, why not? Her feet have grown, she's developed astigmatism and has already jumped at the 5th bat that came flying at her that day only to find out that it was just a weird shadow that her peripherals misinterpreted, and she's hot.

      That luscious hair that has grown so long and shiny is making her sweat. Not only that, she was unprepared for the hair that grew elsewhere. The hair on her toes has grown, her leg hair is long and unreachable for a shave, and weirdly enough, she's grown hair on her stomach. You read that right, she's practically sasquatch.


According to WebMD:

How does your hair change while pregnant?

Pregnancy can affect your hair in a variety of ways - and not only the hair on your head. Hormonal fluctuations affect different expectant mums in different ways, and you'll probably also find that your hair changes more than once as pregnancy progresses. Your hair will most likely become generally more lustrous and thicker than before. You'll probably find it seems to be growing much more quickly and you're visiting the hairdresser more often. Make the most of it - having thick, glossy locks (unless it's normal for you, even when you're not pregnant) is one of the upsides of pregnancy, but one that doesn't last for long after the birth.
Changes that can prove to be more lasting include a darkening of your hair colour or a reversal of its normal texture - or maybe both. Lots of expectant mums find that their previously poker-straight hair becomes curly, or vice versa, and remains that way. Some naturally light-haired ladies find they're darker-haired in pregnancy and beyond. For some women, these changes are permanent, although there's no way of predicting this.
Lots of mums-to-be notice hair sprouting more profusely all over their bodies, with leg, arm, facial and pubic hair becoming thicker. It can be a bit embarrassing, but is not usually really dramatic. Chances are if you've noticed this happening to you, you're the only person that's very aware of it, with the possible exception of your partner. Any hair overgrowth tends to drop out again unnoticed within six months of giving birth as your hormones normalise. In the meantime, avoid any chemical hair-removal products like depilatory creams as these could get absorbed into your bloodstream and cross the placenta to your baby.

     I got the best and worst of all worlds. The hair on my hair got thicker (that would have been awesome, but I already have thick hair), it grew longer, it was shinier, and my hair started to curl. It made for easy days when it came to styling my hair.  Unfortunately, my stomach began to sprout dark, embarrassing hair, (Sorry, TMI) and have you ever tried to shave when you're far along? The closer to my due date, the more I tried to shave and paint my toes. When I was pregnant with my daughter, my doctor made a joke that she must not be ready to leave yet because I could still paint them... Um... Doc, you have no idea the effort and torture that I went through to get that done for you and everyone else who might be in the delivery room with me.

     Fortunately, for all of us, the hair disappears within a few months after giving birth. When we are ready to go back out into the world and want to make ourselves presentable, again, we won't have to worry about that belly getting in the way and we can stop shamefully shaving those weird places that were just embarrassing in the first place--- Not that anyone else really knew that because we are civilized, after all, and weren't running around in the nude all day.

     What weird things happened to you during pregnancy? Did you grow hair in weird places, too?

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Thursday, November 9, 2017

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Foot Size

   

So the other day, I posted about Astigmatism and how it can be an unknown side effect to being pregnant. We always think about the glow, the morning sickness, the heartburn, but there are some side effects that some women don't know about and they wonder, "What on earth?"

     I am only 5'4'' in height. The average height in women (from what I just looked up) is 5'4''. I think it used to be 5'5'', but I guess that's changed. When I typed in the question, "What's the average shoe size for women" this is what popped up.

American women, on the average, wear a size 8-wide shoe (American men: size 10.5) - Approximately 68% of American women wear shoes between the sizes of 6.5 and 9.5.
     Can you guess what my shoe size used to be? You would probably guess in between those numbers and you would be incorrect. Before children, I wore a size 10. The highest woman's average is 9.5. Do you know how hard it is to find some cute shoes or any shoes in a size 10? Shoe shopping has always been kind of depressing for me. Stores don't always carry the same shoe in a 10 as the do for a 9.5. There is only a half size difference. It's like shopping for plus size clothes, we size 10 shoe wearers get the short end of the stick. We get the ugly or plain shoes while you size 8s get the cute sneakers or dress shoes.

      Guess what size I wear now? After giving birth to 3 children, my feet have grown a whole shoe size, size 11. My feet are so disproportionate to my height. Why does a 5'4'' woman need bozo the clown size feet?

     You may be wondering why this happens or if the size of your feet really change. I mean, why listen to someone you may not know very well? Someone, however did research, and if you really wanted to look into it, I'm sure that you could find even more research studies about it. You can check out the article here  or you can read part of this snippet.

The change in foot size may be due to the extra weight women carry around during pregnancy, which puts greater stress on the feet, and, thus, may flatten the arch, the researchers said. In addition, pregnant women produce hormones that increase the looseness of the joints and ligaments (tissue that connects bone to bone), possibly making the foot structure more malleable. 
Most of the women involved in the new study who experienced changes in their foot length and arch height were first-time mothers. Women had given birth to two or three children did not experience such significant changes. This result suggests that a woman's first pregnancy may have the greatest impact on foot size, the researchers said. But a larger study will be needed to confirm this, Segal added. (Twenty-nine of the women in the study were first-time moms; 17 were second-time moms, and three were third-time moms.)
     All I know, is that it got even more difficult to buy shoes. I'm probably closer to a size 10.5, but you know what, I have never seen that size in stores. So, when I wear my shoes, if I wear a size 10, my toenails feel like they are going to fall off, forget about even running in them. If I wear a size 11, my shoes will mostly fit, but my feet slip around and sometimes that causes some serious heat from the friction it caused. What do I value more, toenails or soft feet? Cute shoes or comfort? I guess, for now, I will just not exercise as much (keeps the heat at bay) and just settle for granny shoes.

     Have your feet changed in size? Did they ever go back to the normal size?


More Like This:

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Sleep
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Love
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Hair
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Eyes
How To Prepare for Pregnancy- Get a Cat

Monday, November 6, 2017

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Eyes



   There are so may things that are associated with pregnancy. Things that most people know or think of when you think about what could happen to a woman when she's pregnant. For instance:

     Pregnancy glow! When you see a new mother, what do you hear in movies or say in real life? Girl, you're glowing! That could be from happiness or sweat from your body temperature rising. It's usually meant as a compliment when someone tells you that you're glowing, but I was in the percent of women who perspired more than I would have liked, so I just would roll my eyes while thanking them.

Not my best pregnancy glow picture, but there is definitely a baby in that belly (Look at that bad perm choice!).

     Another thing that people associate with pregnancy- Cravings!!! Pickles and ice cream anyone? Ok, that was never me. I usually craved chocolate milk or jalapeno poppers.

     Morning sickness- Ok, so not all women get that- lucky you! I had morning sickness all day until like 4:00 PM during my whole first trimester and for a short time in my second trimester. I was lucky to have my grandma, who took such good care of me, live so close. Without her care, my oldest child would have probably set the house on fire or something while my head was in the toilet. Yay retirement!

      So... What are some things that you don't really realize or understand until it's happening to you? I'm going to write a little miniseries about those horrors and, hopefully, it will be funny. This first one, however is about...


Astigmatism!


      So, what is astigmatism? Astigmatism is when your eye isn't rounded the way it is supposed to be so when light enters your eyes, things can appear blurry or distorted. Let me highlight the symptoms that I have from the following list:

Symptoms

  • blurred or distorted vision at all distances
  • headaches
  • excessive squinting
  • eye strain, especially when the eye has to focus for long periods, as in reading from paper or a computer monitor
  • difficulty seeing at night

     Along with telling me that I have a really cool birth defect in my eye (a random speck that everyone has but it normally goes away at birth, but mine didn't and it was totally awesome for him to see), my doctor told me that I had developed a slight astigmatism. I can wear contacts that are developed for astigmatism since I already have near-sighted vision, but he said that the likely cause of developing this astigmatism at my age was because of my pregnancies. Do you remember that pregnancy glow that I was talking about earlier? Women get to have like double their volume of blood during pregnancy or something like that. All of that extra blood actually changed my eye shape a little bit. Don't worry, though, this doesn't happen to everyone. It probably happened already because I already had eye sight problems.

     This is how it has affected me: If I'm wearing my glasses when I'm in a dark room or outside, you may see me randomly duck or get startled by something. That's because the shadows that come in through my peripherals made me see a shadow that made my brain think that a bat was flying towards my head. My latest astigmatism figment of my imagination was when I was standing outside at my parent's house during their housewarming party. I think I might have even been wearing my contacts at the time. I was talking with my brother-in-law (I think) and I jumped, might have even screeched because the power box on the pole that I was standing next too in my parent's yard, looked like a random man standing beside me and he hadn't been there before. I of course figured out what had happened at the time and had to endure the endless mocking.

     I'm also more granny like when I drive at night. It's better with my contacts so I try not to drive with my glasses, but some nights I forget. I used to love driving in the rain and at night, but now, not as much because random ghost bodies appear (not really) but it is a hazard.

     If you suspect that you might have astigmatism and haven't been to the eye doctor in a while, get your eyes checked out. Contacts are life savers and if you must drive, it's better to drive with contacts vs. glasses.

      Have your eyes changed since pregnancy? Do you see random things that aren't really there? Tell me your weird pregnancy stories!

More Like This Post:

What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Sleep
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Love
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Hair
What They Didn't Tell You About Pregnancy- Foot Size
How To Prepare for Pregnancy- Get a Cat

Saturday, November 4, 2017

How to Prepare for Motherhood- Get a Cat

 


  Not everyone who is a mother always wanted to become one or was at least ready when it happened. The thought of having children used to make me cringe. I wasn't good with little kids, but I was good at working with teenagers. I used to joke that if I were to become a parent, someday, I was just going to adopt teenagers. Who knows, maybe some day, I will.
 
Sightings

     Right after or maybe before my husband proposed to me, babies were sprouting up everywhere. I lived on a college campus, so baby spotting shouldn't have happened so much, right? It happened anyways. Families would bring their children to college games or whenever we would venture off campus, babies would be in the restaurants we were in or crying in the store. My heart softened towards kids and whenever I saw one, I looked to my husband/fiancĂ© and chanted, "Soooooooon".

     It started to become a joke and whenever he would see a baby, he'd hold his hand up and say, "Not yet."When we finally got married, the question was asked all of the time, "So, when are you to going to have a baby?" We'd respond that we were waiting until we were financially stable or when we finished college. (Likely excuses)

      No matter how ready that I thought I was to have a baby, there was no way that I could be prepared to have one, especially as a college student. However, I did find a way to get it started.

       One day, I remember taking my sister out to PetSmart to get a fish for her dorm room. My husband and I were married and were attending our senior year in college. What was supposed to be a trip for her, ended up being the trip that I met Ella. She was a tabby kitten with part of her tail missing. She had those Puss in Boots eyes, the ones that begged you to pet her. I convinced my husband to let me bring her home. She quickly filled up the spot in my heart that made my womb call out for children. That itch had been scratched, for that moment and the urge to have a baby lessened.



     However, I didn't know what I was getting into. A cat that age needs attention. I am a light sleeper and have always been a light sleeper. Ella was a restless and noisy cat. She would crash through our apartment all through the night. I was TIRED ALL OF THE TIME!!! 

     There was one week when my brother-in-law came to visit. He had just gotten a new kitten and we encouraged him to bring her over so she could play with Ella. That was the first night that I was able to sleep well in months. She was so busy with this other cat that she actually slept and left me alone during the night. So, I convinced my husband to let us get another cat. 

     So now we had Ella and Char. It took them a while to get used to each other, but for the most part, they got along spectacularly. I thought that I was off the hook, that I was going to sleep again- until that night happened. Ella's food bowl was out. She climbed onto our bed and laid on my face. For every second that I ignored her, she would tickle my nose with her whiskers. I eventually had to get up to see what she wanted and noticed the empty food bowl. That became the ritual. The same time in the middle of the night, she would come wake me. If the litter box was full, I was not exempt. If the water had kitty litter in it because one of them was messy, I was not exempt. I was constantly woken up throughout the night because my cats needed me. Eventually, we locked our door so they would leave me alone. 


     It was probably about the same month that we got Char that I found out that I was pregnant. I was already getting used to the cat's high demands. I almost knew what it would feel like to have a baby, how it would feel to be super pregnant. 

    If you want to prepare for motherhood, get your body used to what it would be like, get a cat.... or borrow a friends.
    
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Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Fighting the Winter Blues

     I don't know if it has just hit me earlier this year or if it's because my circumstances have been unusual, but I've been really bluesy, already, this year.

     I love the fall! I usually love the colors, the crisp air, the decorations, and costumes. I love taking my kids trick-or-treating. I usually become blue after Thanksgiving. But I've been bad at decorating the house. We just did our pumpkins, usually it's done sooner. I haven't been super excited like I normally am. Maybe it's because I've only watched Hocus Pocus once this year? *gasp!* yes, just once.

     For those of you who have never heard of the winter blues, it happens to people in the winter. We're not quite depressed, but more like melancholy. The days are shorter, exercise has dwindled, and the supply of vitamin D that you get from the sun has lost its source. I didn't realize that this was something that I experienced every year until I noticed a pattern. I began to see my doctor during the winter months because I lost motivation to do anything. I was tired all of the time and my temper was short. I had gone in believing that maybe I was having a thyroid problem, but it happened every single winter since my kids were born and nothing was every diagnosed. It might have happened sooner than that, but I was a hyperactive teenager, so maybe I didn't notice it as much.


    What I usually do when I begin to feel bluesy is take some vitamin D. That usually helps, but so does ice cream. And well, when you eat ice cream, weight creeps on and then I'm 500 lbs (a bit of an over exaggeration) and then I feel even worse than I did before.

     I need a hobby. I'm at home with the baby (ok, so he's 3, but he'll always be my baby- shadadoop awwwah, shadadoop da doop da dawww *insert Mariah Carey high note*) all day long. We do things together, but most of it is what he wants to do. "But you're the mom. Make him do what you want to do." *Mothers UNITE!* I do, sometimes, or sometimes I come to this computer and I type a blog that may or may not get read. However, when you get bluesy and you have anxiety, sometimes you just can't do something. Anxiety is weird. You want to do something, but your brains says, "No. Just stay right where you are. Worry about getting your house clean, but stay here and just look at it. Don't do a thing. Feel overwhelmed and panic when someone is about to come over. Everything will not be ok, but it's ok to just sit and worry."

     Nothing gets done!!! Then, at some moment, you are able to push through that fog and you say "Enough!" and you bring out the broom and sweep everything to the middle of the floor and you sweep things long forgotten out from under the couch then add it to that pile. You look at that pile and feel overwhelmed again. You sit down. You know that it has to get cleaned. After you put on an episode of Grey's Anatomy (because it will calm you down) you slowly pick up that pile. On occasion, you have turrets and yell at the dogs because when you went and picked the kids up from school, they got into the garbage can and pulled out paper plates and other trash items and chewed on them under the dining room table. You notice the pile when you're on the floor cleaning up the other pile so you sweep it into the pile that just began to look like something was being done, only to have it grow again. You feel defeated, but hey, you can do this! Just as you're almost done, the kids come home and dump their things everywhere. The baby is so excited, he grabs the nearest toy bin and dumps it. You let out an inhuman strangled cry. You apologize to the kids because they thought you were dying and you say, "It's ok. Mommy is just a little exasperated. Can you help?" The sensitive 5 year old will rub your back saying, "It's ok, Mama". She's trying to comfort you, so you try not to glare at her through the slits of your eyes because the mess you asked them to help with is still where it was left.
Not my house, but it may be if I don't get my butt into gear. (compliments of Hoarders)


     I'm not depressed, though. I'm bluesy. They house doesn't always look the way it does. I'm not always anxiety ridden and useless. It's cold outside. It's not like the normal hoody weather for this time of year. We have had to pull out our coats and we would have our mittens if we could find them. (Add buy gloves to the list of things we need.) The kids are restless, the dogs feel duped because I don't want to take them for a walk when it's 40* and dark outside. The dogs get into things. The kids play inside all day instead of outside. Things pile up and we're all just stir-crazy. I think that's enough to make any mommy a little crazy, if not just bluesy.

     Do you get the winter blues? Have you gotten them already?
   

   


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