Monday, January 31, 2011

Help! How do I install a car seat?

Virginia and her husband
For first time mom Virginia Gonzalez the day when she’ll get to meet her baby boy is almost here.

After taking classes to prepare her for delivery and to learn infant CPR, Gonzalez decided she wanted a bit of extra hands-on training installing the car seat. “I was worried about not doing it correctly based on the video,” said Gonzalez, a nurse at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford. “It’s hard enough just trying to figure out how to work with the stroller and car seat. It’s hard to know if you have it correct.”

So she enlisted the help of Julie Smith, R.N. MS, Child Passenger Safety Technician Instructor at Texas Health HEB. Smith said that most car seats are not installed correctly, which can be a danger to the baby in the event of a crash.

Friday, January 28, 2011

So Much Alike…Yet So Different

As a mother of two girls, I find it almost uncanny how different they are.  They both have the same parents but are just like night and day!  I found this a challenge to adjust once Lauren was born because, like any good parent would do, I compared the two of them frequently.

Rachel Mackenzie just turned four in November.  She was a WONDERFUL baby!  She slept all of the time and slept through the night almost right out of the womb.  She rarely cried…only if she was hungry or sleepy.  She had the best disposition as an infant. She did not ever cry when I dropped her off at the church nursery or at parent’s day out.  Then…something HORRIBLE happened when she turned 18 months old!  It was literally like a switch was turned on.  She turned into a TODDLER!  A fit-throwing, head-banging, screaming toddler.  That was also the same time I found out about my second bundle of blessing and I asked my husband, “What are we doing?”

Thursday, January 27, 2011

I was the best mom in the world before I had kids!

I was the best mom in the world before I had kids! That was when my kids were perfect. The phrase, “My child would never…” constantly came to mind when I saw someone else’s child acting up in public. Now, I am a mom of two wonderful children. My husband, Josh, and I are truly blessed to have a three year old son, Preston, and a four and a half month old daughter, Emory. 

However, reality has struck.

For instance, before I had children, my child would never

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Deja Vu All Over Again

Remember how, way back when, I told you all about my rampant morning sickness in the first trimester? And then later, and cautiously optimistic, I said it was dissipating in the second trimester.

Well, the third trimester has brought back an old friend - really bad morning sickness. It's different this time, though - instead of unrelenting waves of nausea throughout the day, it comes more as a surprise. Yesterday morning, it was the mere act of getting out of bed and putting on slippers. That afternoon? Starting the car.

The timing couldn't be worse, either. Today I have my glucose test, which screens for gestational diabetes. I'll be drinking a syrupy liquid, waiting an hour, and then getting blood drawn to see how well my body metabolized the sugar. I've heard everything from, "Oh, it doesn't taste half bad," to "It makes some people very nauseous." The latter warning came from my doctor, who advised eating a protein-packed, non-sugary, bland breakfast - something like scrambled eggs, but no juice - this morning before the test.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Heart healthy pregnancy

I once knew a woman who approached her pregnancy like a drill sergeant. For the duration of her pregnancy, she worked out six days a week, drank only water and ate only raw fruits and vegetables and poached chicken.

I have a lot respect for this level of discipline – especially now that I’m 22 weeks pregnant and constantly craving anything that comes with jalepenos on top. I want to follow a heart healthy diet throughout my pregnancy, but I’m not exactly a drill sergeant. The difficulty is finding balance between the healthy foods I know my growing baby needs and the cravings that descend on me like a hot flash.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Baby shower blues

For a decade I’ve I lovingly, and only somewhat jokingly, referred to myself as a professional wedding guest, albeit one that paid to attend the nuptials. For example, last year we attended four weddings in four states. So I’m quite familiar with the bridal shower traditions.

Yet when it comes to baby showers it’s a bit more mysterious. I’ve had what seems like a bazillion friends give birth or get pregnant in the last year, but most have been states away or people through work so I haven’t attended a full-fledged baby shower in a while. I’ve thrown a baby shower in my time, but the child in question is now sadly 7 years old. How she grew so fast I don’t know, because I certainly can’t be 7 years older myself.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Hair treatment in pregnancy

Dr. Antonio Asis
The most common question I’m asked in the first prenatal visit is, “When can I dye my hair Dr. Asis?!” (I must disclose that I did wonder, at one time, whether my going bald had something to do with my mother dying her hair when I was in her womb. Just kidding.)

The fact of the matter is that dying your hair CAN be done in pregnancy because very little dye is actually absorbed through the skin. There is currently limited evidence that hair coloring does NOT cause birth defects. However, the following precautions are recommended:
  • Color your hair AFTER the first trimester to avoid chemical exposure as this is the time your baby’s organs are developing.
  • Consider using highlights or frosting your hair.  These approaches allow you to reduce the amount of chemicals that touch your scalp, but I understand this may not get the job done the way you had hoped.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The best diet ever!

When I got pregnant, moms told me to breastfeed as long as I could. “Why?” I would ask. They always told me it was the best way to lose the pregnancy pounds. And they were right!

Four months into being a mom and I have dropped about 45 pounds – just breastfeeding. Not only does breastfeeding allow me to bond with my child, but it has given me the ability to lose my pregnancy weight!

As I began to look at New Year’s resolutions, I opted to try and lose some more weight, eat healthier and exercise. It is great to have lost my pregnancy weight, but I still have some weight I put on before I got pregnant that I want to lose. So, I have resolved to continue breastfeeding. 

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Holy Cow, It's the Third Trimester

One part of the nursery from Children Inspire Design
I for one, cannot believe I'm entering my third trimester. When you start reading baby books, 40 weeks, three trimesters and hundreds of days seem like an eternity. It seems like just yesterday, I was hiding positive pregnancy tests in with the mail and trying to get my husband to sort it already. Seriously. The man walked around the house for what seemed like 45 minutes before he decided to look through the mail. At that point, I had known for three hours. I finally had to say, "Did you get any good mail?"

And even then, it took FOREVER for him to get to the part of the pile that involved a plastic bag with pregnancy tests inside.

And now we're nearing the end of this journey. I've started talking to my wonderful sister-in-law about baby showers. We're amassing nursery furniture and making concrete plans for when we're painting the nursery. Prepared childbirth classes and hospital tours are coming up (if you are pregnant and haven't signed up yet, it's super easy: Just go here.) This weekend, we'll take a babymoon. I've begun seeing my doctor every two weeks, as opposed to once a month. We pre-registered at the hospital, and will visit with a pediatrician soon.

And yet, somehow, I feel woefully unprepared - partly because of a major kink thrown into our baby-preparedness plans: a complete and totally necessary remodeling of our bathroom.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

'I dressed myself'

My daughter walked up to me one day and said “Mom, don’t I look beautiful?”

I replied. “Always! But your clothes don’t match.”

“Yes they do,” she answered. “See—this shirt has every color of the rainbow, the pants have every color of the rainbow, and the skirt has every color of the rainbow.”

She had thought this through. I had nothing.

Monday, January 17, 2011

From dancin' feet to soccer cleats

Like many mothers, I had a grand vision that my little girl would grow up with a love for dolls, playing dress up and wanting to don tutus whether it be at the dinner table or at a winter dance recital. Naively, I was excited about the prospect of her father and I having to cart her around to dance practices and the small fortune we would pay for her to prance on a stage for all the world (or Fort Worth) to see.

Now that I’m a little bit wiser, I’ve come to realize that children really do come with their own agendas and my daughter is certainly no exception to that fact. My preconceived notions of what activities a little girl should be involved in were nothing like what she had in mind.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Back in the Saddle Again

The holidays are over and it’s back to regular sleep and eating schedules. We’ll get a break from the continuous cookie-candy-cake-pie cycle that plagued us over the holidays. Over the last few weeks, we’ve been mindful to throw in a vegetable here and there, but overall it’s been Junk Food-palooza.

During the school year I am more conscious of the foods my kids eat. When I was on a first-name basis with my son’s kindergarten teacher because of his inability to sit still and focus, I took a long hard look at what we were feeding him. And it wasn’t pretty. A typical breakfast would consist of chocolate milk and instant oatmeal. Then he’d have a peanut and jelly sandwich, chocolate milk, a snack (fruit snack, granola bar) and a piece of fruit.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

A new year, full of physical transformation

Chandra and husband
I’m new to the blogging scene, so I hope my rambling thoughts make sense to most of you who may read this. Most people make New Year’s Resolutions each year – one popular resolution is the decision to lose weight. Unlike most, my resolution is to eat as much and as often as I can – limiting myself to healthy food choices, of course.

My first child is scheduled to enter the world in June; and if the ultrasound is correct, we’ll be having a baby girl. In preparation for her arrival, I’ve traded in my Stephen King and Tananarive Due horror/science fiction novels for more educational and informational reads. Reading material now focuses on the little person growing inside my belly. From books that outline the pregnancy process week-by-week to various magazines that offer tips on restful sleep, explanations about consistent flatulence (so embarrassing), to finding the perfect baby name – I learn something new, practically every other day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Establishing significance

Mary Lou and her daughter Valerie
After the tragic event that happened this past week in Tucson where Christina Green, 9 years old was shot, you wonder "How could that mother go on television and be so articulate in speaking about her sweet daughter?" 

I can tell you why. 

She wanted the world to know who her daughter was – how smart, how sweet, how wonderful, and to be remembered as having lived a significant life. 

How do I know? 

Eleven years ago, I lost my oldest daughter to a tragic car accident. 

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Why I take folic acid and you should too

As an OB/GYN, one of the most frequent discussions I have with my patients revolves around folic acid, which may be a tool for women of all ages to reduce risks for many diseases. I personally take folic acid daily and I encourage my patients to do the same. Here’s why:

Folic acid (which is called folate when it is found naturally in food), Vitamin B9, is a vitamin that essential to many metabolic processes in the human body.  It can be found on the supplements aisle at drug stores and is common in foods such as spinach and lentils.For more info on the levels of folate in foods, click here.

For years we have known that folic acid supplementation is vital to a pregnant woman to help prevent a rare birth defect called a neural tube defect.  A neural tube defect (NTD) occurs when the neural tube fails to close properly and leaves the developing brain or spinal cord exposed to the amniotic fluid.  The neural tube later becomes the baby's spinal cord, spine, brain, and skull. Taking extra folic acid at the time when the neural tube is forming can reduce the chance of the baby having a neural tube defect.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Great for kid, not so great for Mom

Do you ever have those moments when you discover that those things you thought were so great as a kid were really a pain for your parents? Snuggling in their bed for a special night’s sleep, playing horsey with your dad, watching a Scooby-Doo marathon with mom, going to Chuckie Cheese. While you thought everyone was enjoying it, your parents were actually plotting when they could escape for a strong drink.

Friday, January 7, 2011

I resolve to keep being selfish

I have to admit, I’m pretty selfish.

Not in all aspects of my life. But when it comes to fitting running into my busy day, something’s gotta give – and sometimes that means being a less-than-perfect wife and stepmother.

You know those women who wake up at the wee hours of the morning, bundling up to brace the bitter cold, slipping quietly out the back door to run outside or head to the gym while the family is blissfully sleeping and unaware? That is so not me. I wish it were. I wish 5 a.m. and I could just get along. I’ll sneak a shorter morning run in here and there, but for the most part  I’ve accepted that the only way running will be consistently in my life is if I don’t expect myself to adhere to a 5 a.m. routine.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Cold and flu season with a new baby!

I have always heard moms say that your life and your babies’ schedule is different when they are sick!  We experienced this for the first time over the holidays.  Our 3.5 month old came down with his first cold.  Being a new, first-time mom, I immediately took him to the doctor worrying about all the what-ifs.  Could it be RSV?  If it gets worse, will he get pneumonia? 

After seeing the doctor, he reassured me that it was a good “old fashioned cold”!  What they don’t tell you is that those colds can stick around for 2 to 3 weeks. 

A week into our first cold, our son, Wells, started waking up during the night and quit breastfeeding.  Since I work in health care and have several friends who are new moms too, I knew something was not right.  So, back to the doctor one week later.  Result – our first ear infection.  Ugh!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Maybe You Should Hire a Pregnant Copy Editor

Fairly early in my pregnancy, I foolishly signed up for about 320 different pregnancy e-newsletters. I honestly thought I was signing up for three, tops, but then I started getting about four a day. But just as I've mentioned that sometimes people forget their manners when they see a pregnant woman, it seems that marketing people sometimes forget, too.

For instance, a diaper-producing company that shall remain nameless just sent me the exciting things they were sure I'd be excited about when I reached my 26th week of pregnancy. Only it was all pretty much a list of things I am not excited about. At all.

"You are now in Week 26 of your pregnancy, and there are exciting things to come for both you and your baby!" the newsletter enthused. "Heartburn. Moisturizing. Bleeding gums."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Early arrival

For Rachel and Daniel Walsh, the arrival of their first child didn’t go quite as planned.
Daniel, Rachel and Abigail Walsh

Feisty little Abigail Rose decided to come at 30 weeks and 2 days. Rachel remembers contractions starting at around 1 a.m. just two minutes apart. Daniel was working so she called her mom and they decided to hightail it for Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Hurst-Euless-Bedford thinking they’d be told it was false labor pains. But instead, they arrived and she was at 5 centimeters with a hand already coming out. Luckily Dad made it to the hospital quickly because just 45 minutes later and Rachel was at 9 centimeters and the doctor decided to do an emergency C-Section.

“We were surprised because it was a very normal pregnancy,” said the 25-year-old mother from North Fort Worth. “She obviously thought she was ready.”

Abigail has been in the neonatal intensive care unit since her birth on Dec. 7, celebrating lots of holidays with her parents, extended family and of course the NICU nurses.

Monday, January 3, 2011

A new year, a new beginning

This time last year, Mara Simon of Livingston, New Jersey and Patty Robles of Crowley were total strangers. But today they think of one another as family.

The two have bonded during a surrogacy journey that culminated in the birth of beautiful twin boys and a long-awaited happy ending for Mara and husband Steven.