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Stay-at-Home Mommy

Figuring out motherhood one day at a time!

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas is a magical time of year.  There’s something about snow, Christmas music, decorations, and the soft glow of Christmas lights.  Our house turns into a Christmas wonderland.  Or, like my husband likes to say, it looks like Hallmark Channel exploded in our house.  Okay, okay, so I go a little over the top decorating but I don’t care, I’ve always loved Christmas.

This is Noah’s second Christmas, but the first Christmas he can truly enjoy.  I know he’s still young but if we tell him Santa is coming he immediately begins screaming, HO, HO, HO!!!  He gets it, he is my son, after all:)

As I sit here writing this, I’m surrounded by the sound of Christmas music, the fragrance of a Christmas tree, and the glow of my Christmas lights.  There’s something so special about this time of year.  During the Christmas season, I’m surrounded by many of my grandma’s Christmas decorations.  Each has a special meaning and story behind it.

My mantel is carefully decorated with ceramic characters, creating the perfect Christmas scene.  It’s a replica of my grandma’s front door with carolers, pine trees, and light posts.  Every Christmas I would help my grandma decorate.  To this day, I still carefully arrange my mantel to match the way we decorated.  She’s been gone for quite a few years now, but it makes me feel like she’s still here with us.

We also decorate two Christmas trees every year.  One is a peacock themed tree in our dining room and the second is a bigger tree in our living room, adorned with ornaments we’ve collected over the years.  Again, my husband laughs at me, but it makes the house feel so special.

Last night I was helping my parents decorate their tree, I’m very particular about lights on a tree and so is my dad.  We started talking about my grandma at Christmas time and he told us stories about my grandma standing over my grandpa, critiquing his decorating skills…it’s easy to see where I got my love of Christmas!

Right now, I have cookie dough chilling in the fridge…of course I love making Christmas cookies.  I’ll be sure to post all the cookies I bake!  For now, it’s back to making cookies, Noah is napping so hopefully I’m able to get a lot done today.  Merry ChristmasJ

-Chelsea

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy(ICP)

Have you ever been itchy during pregnancy?  The normal itch of dry, stretching skin during pregnancy is nothing compared to the deep itch and burn ones experiences when they have ICP.

When I was around 36 weeks pregnant, I began feeling extremely itchy, to the point where I was unable to sleep at night.  My poor arms and legs had scratches all over them.  Basically it feels like an itch that no amount of scratching will fix.  It’s so itchy it almost burns.  And it doesn’t matter what you do, it won’t go away.

After researching this online I knew it was what I had.  There was not a doubt in my mind.  Unfortunately, the nurse I spoke to at my doctor’s office, brushed it off as normal itchiness during pregnancy.  When I wasn’t satisfied with her answer, I researched more and decided to call with a specific set of symptoms, knowing they would take me serious.

On the second call, I spoke to an older nurse who immediately said my doctor would want a blood test done, but she would call back to let me know for sure.  And when she called back she told me my doctor did in fact want a blood test done.  It was a Friday, so I knew I would be waiting all weekend for the results.

I received a call from my doctor on the way to her office on Monday morning.  This was not normal because they usually have a nurse call to give results.  She wanted to see me immediately.  After my scheduled ultrasound, I was taken into a room where my doctor was waiting for me.

My baby wasn’t moving much, but it was normal for the time of day, he usually was sleeping in the morning and awake at night….this lasted until he was about 4 months old lol.  My doctor strapped on a heart monitor and grabbed a weird instrument used to get the baby moving.  It was some vibration that makes the baby jump, and oh boy did he jump.

She went over the blood test results with us and said, “we’re inducing you this week”.  She saw the surprise on our faces but said no need to worry, but with ICP they don’t let you go past 37 weeks and at this point I was just at 38 weeks.

I was lucky enough to give birth to a beautiful, 8lb 5oz baby boy the following Friday.

ICP is something I had never heard of until I began researching itchiness during pregnancy.  This isn’t something I read about in any of my pregnancy books, or on any of the pregnancy websites.

What symptoms are associated with ICP?

  • itching
  • pain in the right upper quadrant
  • dark urine
  • pale stool
  • lack of appetite
  • nausea
  • fatigue
  • jaundice
  • mild depression

(ICPCare.com)

Itching is the biggest symptom you will notice with ICP.  And it’s not any normal itch, it was only in my hands and feet, but it can be felt anywhere (ICPCare.com 2017).  In addition, it’s different because you don’t have a rash, there’s nothing there that appears to be causing the itch.  I’ve read that it often gets worse at night, which was certainly the case for me (ICPCare.com 2017).

If you notice any of these symptoms during pregnancy, please call your doctor.

There are many risks associated with ICP, the risk that scared me the most was stillbirth. I was constantly counting kicks, movements, everything.  Especially after my doctor confirmed it was ICP.  That week I barely slept at all because I only cared about the movements of my baby.  Other risks include, meconium staining, preterm labor and delivery, fetal distress, maternal hemorrhage, and RDS (ICPCare.com 2017).

As I already mentioned, if you experience any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor.  Get the word out.  Don’t scare pregnant friends and family members, but if they ever mention any of these symptoms, at least tell them about ICP.  It can’t hurt to inform anyone.

Pregnancy is a wonderful, scary, lovely, unexplainable experience.  I remember my doctor telling me to stay away from “Dr Google”, but I’m glad I didn’t listen.  Sure, you can make yourself crazy and worry about every little thing, but you can also be informed.

Good luck to all the mamas out there:)

Reference: 

Diagnosis of Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP). (2017). Retrieved from http://www.icpcare.org/what-is-icp/diagnosis/

Risks of Intrahepatic Cholestasis of Pregnancy (ICP). (2017). Retrieved from http://www.icpcare.org/what-is-icp/risks/

Considering another baby…maybe

I have always wanted three children.  Three seems like a good amount, right?  I’m the oldest of three and I loved growing up with two siblings.  Why wouldn’t this be the perfect situation for our growing family?

Wellllllll I didn’t exactly have the easiest pregnancy, but come on, does anyone?!  Sure it started out fine with just a bit of nausea and feeling tired all the time, but that disappeared when I hit the second trimester.  But everything changed after my glucose screening.

I received the lovely news that I had failed the one hour glucose test.  Of course everyone was telling me it happens all the time and you pass the three hour test with flying colors. Except, that’s not what happened.  Ohhhhh no.  I did not pass the three hour test with flying colors.  I failed.  And that is not easily accepted by someone with my type A personality.

My doctor said not to worry as she arranged a meeting with a nutritionist and a specialist.  How could I not worry when I was going to meet with a specialist?!  I was told again and again I shouldn’t worry because this happens to more women than I realize.  I was also told again and again that it’s easily controlled with diet and exercise … kay.

This was not the case for me.  After meeting with the nutritionist and specialist within two hours of each other, I called my husband, sobbing into the phone while sitting in the parking lot of my doctor’s office.  The poor guy was at work and immediately told his boss something was wrong and he had to go home.  He spent the rest of the day sitting on the couch, listening to my irrational sobs.  I was pregnant, hormonal, and suddenly had information overload.

The nutritionist had given me a glucose monitor that I was expected to use four times a day.  Each number had to be recorded and the spreadsheet had to be handed into my doctor bi-weekly.  Oh yes, that’s right, I started going to the doctors every other week, sometimes twice if I was meeting with the nutritionist.

As the days went by, I watched my numbers slowly creep up.  My doctor told me to expect some high numbers, but they were becoming the norm.  Exercise stopped helping.  Meal and snack planning stopped working.  Eventually I was put on medication.  Apparently this is all my body needed to cooperate.

Just when I finally started feeling like I had gestational diabetes under control, the itching began.  I was told itching is normal during pregnancy.  But I knew this was not normal.  It got to the point where I couldn’t sleep at night because all I could think about was the itching.  This is when I realized I needed to call my doctor.

The nurse I spoke with tried very hard to convince me this was a normal symptom of pregnancy.  She told me to take some benadryl and that will give me relief.  But again, I knew she was wrong.  After spending countless hours researching online, I had diagnosed myself.  ICP (intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy) was what I diagnosed myself with.  The articles I read were enough to scare the heck out of me.  Again, I called the doctor’s office.  But this time I spoke with a different nurse and she immediately told me my doctor might want to run blood tests.

Within a half hour I received a call back and she told me they had already sent the request over to the lab and I should get there as soon as possible.  That’s exactly what I did.  Of course, the lab tech was angry that I hadn’t made an appointment and I was there 15 minutes before closing.  But I didn’t care.  At this point, the safety of my baby was all I cared about.  This was on a Friday.

The following Monday, my husband and I were driving to yet another appointment when I received a call from my doctor.  Not the office.  Not a nurse.  My doctor.  I immediately knew it wasn’t going to be good news.  My results were in an I had ICP.  Luckily, I was already on the way to her office for a scheduled ultrasound.  She told me she was going to meet with me immediately following that ultrasound.

My husband was sent into a panic because he was not expecting this.  But I had done the research, so I was.  The first words out of her mouth were “you’re having this baby this week”.  My husband and I looked at each other in disbelief.  The day we had been waiting for was finally here.  Within two days, I was induced and my little Noah was born.

My pregnancy wasn’t easy, but again, are they ever?  I can’t stand listening to endless stories of blissful complication free pregnancies.  Well congratulations.  Some of us, however, are not able to enjoy our pregnancies as much as we thought we would.  My husband and I have been seriously considering trying for another baby.  However, every time this conversation begins, I’m taken back to my first pregnancy.  My worries return and I begin panicking that everything will happen again.

Getting Sick When You’re a Mom

It has been weeks since I’ve been able to sit down and write!  Why?  Well the entire family has traded off being sick for about 3 weeks now.  Everyone is finally feeling better so it’s nice to sit down for a minute.

My little man was the first to get sick, then my husband, and finally, me of course.  It’s been an exhausting few weeks because my husband worked 7 straight days at one point and finished off that week by going out of town for training.  This all happened as I was starting to get sick.

When I was younger I always assumed my mom was never sick.  I never saw her lay down on the couch for a few days because she wasn’t feeling well.  She never spent time resting in bed, getting over a bad cold or flu.  In my eyes, she was invincible.  Somehow staying healthy when we all came down with an illness.  But now, I understand what was really going on.

As a mom, she was suffering in silence.  She didn’t have the luxury of resting to get over an illness.  Instead, she continued on with her daily life like nothing was wrong.  I didn’t understand that until I became a mom.  And I get it now.  From the moment we’re pregnant, we change.  We go from worrying about ourselves to worrying about our family first.  Not that we were selfish before but it’s just different.  If you’re a mom you’ll understand what I’m saying.

Soooooo I made it through the week long illness and I’m finally feeling better!  And I’m looking forward to writing more often.

Until next time,

Chelsea:)

 

My Experience with Breastfeeding

When I was pregnant with my son, I had every intention to breastfeed.  In fact, I didn’t give formula feed a thought.  Why wouldn’t I breastfeed?  My mom did and so did my aunts, what could possibly stop me?  After delivering my son, the nurse immediately put him to my breast and I attempted to breastfeed.  But he wouldn’t latch on.  She said that happens sometimes so don’t worry about it and we’ll try again.

The next morning, the same thing happened.  My stress and anxiety began to increase as the day went by.  Each visitor caused more anxiety because I wanted to try but I didn’t want anyone in the room.  My husband pulled the curtain around but that just wasn’t enough.  I couldn’t get the hang of it and we were both getting frustrated.  Frustration was making it harder on both of us to relax and let things happen naturally.  By the time we left the hospital, things weren’t any better.  We even met with the lactation nurse a few times, but still nothing.

On the second sleepless night with a screaming newborn by husband finally ran to the store and purchased formula.  We didn’t know what else to do.  Although my son didn’t sleep great that night, he slept better than he had since he was born.  The poor little guy was hungry and I wasn’t able to give him what he needed.

At his first check-up with the pediatrician, he had lost over a pound since we left the hospital.  Although it is normal for newborns to lose weight when they leave the hospital, this was too much weight.  We met with the lactation specialist and she was wonderful!  Very understanding, helpful, and not judgmental at all.  She spoke with us about purchasing a breast pump and gave me instructions on how often to pump and feed.

After that appointment, we drove to the store and purchased a breast pump.  The first night of pumping was miserable.  I was so sore, I sat in the bathroom crying.  It was the most miserable experience.

For the first few weeks of Noah’s life, we were going back and forth to the pediatrician for weight checks.  I was trying to breastfeed, formula feed, and pump.  It was an awful schedule and not easy to keep up with while I was home alone with the baby.  By 3 months I finally threw in the towel and said I’m done.  I needed to feel like me again and I needed the stress and pressure of breastfeeding gone.

I’m a perfectionist and constantly failing at something is like a punch in the gut.  The pediatrician was as wonderful as the lactation specialist because he agreed that as long as the baby is eating, that’s all that matters.  In this case, I did what was best for me and my baby.  We weren’t bonding at all and I needed the added stress of failure to be gone.  So, I stopped.  And just like that, I could feel my anxiety lift and I slowly began to be happy again.

You see, I believe society puts too much pressure on moms to do what they all feel is the “right” thing.  During my journey with breastfeeding I shared a post one day on Facebook.  It was about mom shaming and how breastfeeding doesn’t work for everyone, so we all find a way that works for us.  I was proud to post it because I got it, I knew the feeling they were talking about.  Of course, I received a comment on how bad supplementing with formula is because then you won’t produce as much milk.  Supply and demand, I was told.  I get it.  But if my child isn’t receiving enough nutrients because he’s barely getting any breastmilk, his health comes before anything.

Why is it that when women have a baby we suddenly become this punching bag for other moms?  Why in the world do women feel it’s ok to give their opinion to other mothers?  Just because you did things one way, doesn’t necessarily mean that its right for the other woman’s family.

Now I know this topic comes with very strong opinions, but I’d like to hear anyone else’s stories about their journey with breastfeeding!  Was it easy for you?  Did you face any hurdles?  Did you give up like I did?  This is a no judgement zone, just moms talking to other moms!

A Stay-at-Home Mommy

Being a mom changes everything.  Yes, it’s cliché to say that, but it’s also the truth.

You honestly don’t understand the true meaning behind that until you become a mom.  At this point I’ve done the stay-at-home mom gig and the working mom gig and although they’re both difficult to juggle, I must say staying home is hard work.

Five months after having my son, I went back to work part time.  Although I wasn’t in the same position as I was prior to maternity leave, it was enough hours for some extra cash.  It certainly helped financially, but I felt something was missing and I couldn’t quite figure out what that was.  For some reason, I got the idea in my head the reason for my unhappiness was the different position.

After being approached by management about returning to my old position I was excited! So, fast forward 9 months and I was back in the old position but still working part time.  I easily fell into my old routine at work and although it was as stressful as ever, I was making it work.  About a month into it I had a breakdown.

This wasn’t what I wanted anymore.  Two years ago, I loved working through a stressful situation involving a car crisis.  But now?  It’s just a car.  I couldn’t take certain situations seriously anymore because all I thought about was the time I was taking away from my son.

My schedule, although part time, was still tough to manage.  If my husband was working, I would make the 40-minute drive down to my sister’s house so she could watch my son, another 50 plus minute drive to work in rush hour traffic, 7 ½ hour work day, 50 plus minutes back to my pick up my son, and then 40 minutes back home.  It was ridiculous and not worth it.  Work was making me miserable.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the people I was able to work with but my heart wasn’t in it anymore.  A piece of my heart was left at home each day as I left my son to go to work.

At this point, I approached my husband and told him I was thinking of quitting…God I hate that word.  But he agreed it was the right thing to do.  After crunching some numbers, I knew we would be okay financially.  We would have to make a few sacrifices monthly, but it was going to be worth it.

For a week, I walked by the general manager’s office buying extra time, I was afraid to quit because as I already mentioned, I love the group of people I worked with.  But finally, I was able to do it.  I put in my two week notice and walked out of her office feeling as though I just broke up with someone.  It honestly hurt to have that conversation and I’m not going lie, I did tear up as I talked to her.  She had given me so many opportunities to succeed and she truly believed in my abilities since the day I was hired.  It is not easy to leave something like that.

But, fast forward a month and so far, I’m surviving as a stay-at-home mom!  And I’m proud of myself for it.  Every morning at 7am, sometimes earlier, I’m awoken by the cutest smile and I get to spend the day with my little guy.  We’re figuring it out day by day but I’m loving every minute of it.  Depending on my husband’s work schedule, Noah and I get to spend 4 full days together, just the two of us.  We’re bonding more now than we did when he was younger and it’s amazing.

For weeks, I’ve been going back and forth on what to blog about because I love writing.  But I couldn’t figure out what to write about!  Today it hit me, motherhood of course!  Over the next few days I’ll be working on a few things and hopefully I’ll be able to get them on here!  But with a little guy that has been refusing to take naps lately, I’m not sure how much I’ll get done:)

-Chelsea

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