Did you say all babies are different?

“All babies are different.”
You hear that phrase from the beginning of pregnancy. All pregnancies are different, all babies are different, all kids , all people … You see where I’m going with this. This is sometimes paired with, you have to do what works for you and your family.

Then people ask what has been working for you and the judgement begins. You can’t give your baby that! You can’t do this or that! There is no way your baby can be doing that.

Weaning- let your baby lead you. My baby self-weaned at 10 months. There is no way your baby can be self-weanibg so young. Oh I didn’t know that you were secretly living in my home observing my baby’s eating habits. That’s creepy. You should stop. There are many reasons babies stop nursing. Could be a supply issue. Could be a preference to the bottle. Could be they are truly done needing the nursing. Who knows. All I do know is that you should be reserving your judgement.

Teething – your baby is always teething. Since the day they are born until they get permanent teeth. See the baby is chewing on things. Don’t babies always chew on things? Isn’t that on all the websites as normal baby behavior? Well you need to get gum numbing gel- it’s safe. No I think the baby is fine. Really it’s ok a doctor told me about it 40 years ago. We decided not to use teething gel. Some babies start getting teeth at 3 months and regularly every couple months. Not all, some.

Diaper rash- this quote actually came from an official baby website. Every baby gets diaper rash. Put diaper rash cream on the registry. Get unwanted diaper rash cream as gifts. Not every baby gets diaper rash. Many do, not all.

You will grow to understand your baby. When you need advice, ask. When you get unsolicited advice carry on. Do your best and everything will be fine.

Sleep? Are you there?

I have been saying a lot. I just want to put it out into the universe… pregnancy should be the most restful time in life.  

I will likely never get to sleep in again.  Kikka is almost one and getting busier everyday.  First it was the frequent feedings, then the random rolling over, then the random falling over while trying to sit, then the crawling and reaching new uncharted places, then the cruising and reaching more uncharted territory and now the walking is upon us! 
I constantly watch her like a hawk, but after a year I am beat. Also because I was exhausted going in after a tiring pregnancy and equally tiring labor and delivery.  Even when she sleeps the whole night I am still tired.

It should really be that you are cocooned in constant comfort and an extended period of relaxation when pregnant.  That should be what pregnancy means. Everyone should pamper you with treats and massages. This way when the baby arrives you feel better about the chaos and lack of …everything.  You would say to yourself…”well, I had 9 months of deep relaxation and restfulness and now I am ready for motherhood.”  And when times were hard with your new little human you could think back to that wonderful time when you slept to your hearts content. 

Just imagine that…

Random New Pains: Costochondritis 

The issue with fibromyalgia is everything you feel you are getting it under control you have a flare up or the dreaded new symptom 😫😲

Then you are there wondering is this still FMS? Should I call my doctor? As I mentioned before I have a 3 day rule. I monitor the symptom and see how it progresses.  If it does not improve within 3 days I make an appointment or if it is severe I go to urgent care.

About 3 years ago I started getting a sharp pain in my ribs.  So painful I couldn’t breathe.  I had experienced chest pain in the past but this was different. After 3 days of the pain coming and going without improvement I finally went to urgent care.  It turns out that I had costochondritis. Which did turn up on Dr. Google 😉

According to the Mayo Clinic,
Costochondritis (kos-toe-kon-DRY-tis) is an inflammation of the cartilage that connects a rib to the breastbone (sternum). Pain caused by costochondritis might mimic that of a heart attack or other heart conditions.

Costochondritis is sometimes known as chest wall pain, costosternal syndrome or costosternal chondrodynia. Sometimes, swelling accompanies the pain (Tietze syndrome).

Muscle relaxers were the treatment. I followed up with my rheumatologist.  Good news was that the diagnosis lead me to a muscle relaxer that actually works for me without causing extreme tiredness the next morning.

Oddly enough I had a colleague who had experienced costochondritis as well.  Our bodies find such interesting ways to get inflamed.  I still get a flare up every now and then but as with #fmlife you just get on with it.

Pregnancy: 3rd Trimester and The End

By the third trimester I was spent. I could barely walk due to excruciating pelvic pain.  it would take me 20 minutes to walk the same distance it took me 5 minutes to do pre-pregnancy.  The vomiting decreased in frequency but I still had issues up until a week before C was born.  My poor husband had to put on my socks and shoes each morning.

The worst part was preparing for labor, delivery, and motherhood.  I would stress about changing diapers for no good reason. But I had not done it before and it seemed like something I would be doing often.

Anyhow I busied myself with prepping for baby.  Making a birth plan and setting up the nursery. Anything to keep my mind off of the reality the labor.  I was certain she would come early…

Fast forward a few days after my due date and this child still had not made her appearance.  I had already went on maternity leave and was so anxious I probably should have been sedated.  I had been having regular contractions getting closer together and spotting but it all suddenly stopped and almost a week later still no baby.

After what seemed like a daily visit to the doctor it was decided that I would be induced.  The baby wasn’t tracing well and my super experienced doctor thought it was safer to get her out.  So I went and got my already packed bag and headed to the hospital.  I remember sitting in the delivery waiting for the induction,  turning to B and saying I change my mind.  I had zero interest in birthing a baby.

But 24 hours later we welcomed Kikka.  After a failed induction and many hours of labor with oxygen, I had an emergency C-section.  Turns out Kikka had the umbilical cord wrapped twice around her neck, was slowly being strangled and was in distress.

I can’t say this enough folks- Get a doctor you trust!  I trusted my doctor with my life and my baby’s life.  She saved my babies life with just her instincts. I have a wonderful thriving baby girl because of her.

Pregnancy: 2nd Trimester

All the blogs I read said the second trimester would be the best.  You would get a burst of energy, your morning sickness would subside and you wouldn’t be too big to get around and be active.  This was not the case for me.
This was when the morning sickness really started making me earn my mommy stripes.  Along with being nauseous 24/7 I was now vomiting after every meal and couldn’t even drink water.  In the first trimester I did well with veggies but in the second I was good with nothing.  I would manage to hydrate by drinking Gatorade and drinking cold tea.  Basically I would put hot water on a tea bag and slowly drink it so it would get to be room temp and then continually adding water as I drank.  Otherwise I couldn’t even keep water down.

I was diagnosed with hyperemesis and giving a prescription for Reglan.  I felt so guilty taking it, but took enough to survive.  After all I still had responsibilities – like going to work to afford my fancy new baby.  With the medication my symptoms improved but did not disappear completely.

The second trimester also brought increased pain. Increased fibromyalgia pain and new pelvic pain.  The pelvic pain would send me to the hospital twice. 

Sleep was a thing of the past. I couldn’t get comfy and with the pelvic pain I struggled to move.  I slept with 6 pillow and a body pillow.  I would threaten B that he would have to find elsewhere to sleep.  Lucky for him I never actually went through with forcing him out of bed.  He did master the amazing act of sleeping on his side at the exact edge of the mattress. If he took up more than 6 inches I would push him and complain.  Like dude… there are already two people in this bed.

Managing Work

Support system.

Ask for help.  Accept help.  Do not attempt to do this alone unless it is your only option. Even if you have  a smooth pregnancy low on pregnancy symptoms and illnesses you will be exhausted. My family would drive me around to wherever I needed to be.  Granted I had hyperemesis and severe pelvic pain but still they were there to make things are easy as possible for me.

Reasonable accommodations.
Legally employers are supposed to make reasonable accommodations for employees.  The level of accommodation will vary based on your specific company, but see what systems are in place to make sure you’re not suffering undue hardship.  This could be shifting your work hours or changing your duties.  Also review pregnancy rights for your state and federally.  There are certain provisions set around safety and even breastfeeding.  Know your rights and hold them to it.

Using days off wisely

I like to be preventative so I tend to take a day off before I’m at my worst thus preventing me from even getting there.  Prior to becoming pregnant and in the beginning of my pregnancy I worked a lot of overtime. I relied heavily on my accrued comp time to tide me over when I was low on sick time.  I wasn’t able to be preventative but I tried very hard to go to work even if it meat doing a half day.

If you decide to return to work the days off as chronically ill parent will require some more managing of the days off.  You will need to keep days in the bank for baby’s sick days.  Roberto and I take turns taking baby sick days.  More of them fall on him because I don’t have many days accrued.

Adjusting schedule
This is twofold.  I adjusted my actual work schedule and also my personal life schedule.  With the hyperemesis I would feel so poorly in the morning and it took me forever to get ready.  If I didn’t eat as soon as I woke up my symptoms were noticeably worse. I am fortunate to have flex time at work where I could arrive anytime between 8am-10am.  I usually arrived around 9am.  During pregnancy I would arrive around 10am.  I started taking a shower at night so in the morning i could just get brush my teeth and eat then get ready and go.

Being realistic.
Even if you have few pregnancy symptoms and are fortunate for pregnancy to decrease your chronic pain flare ups- you are still pregnant and it is rough on the body for all women. That is the reality. Do not set lofty goals for yourself that will only make you feel bad and add unnecessary stress to your day. Give yourself ample time to gather supplies for the baby.  Start off any exercise plans nice and slow.  Give yourself extra time to get to places. Do not take on too many projects- personally or professionally.  Only focus on staying well and keeping things low stress.

Acceptance
This is key.  Accept that your body is on a new journey and changes – many unpleasant- are happening to you. And you will mostly become aware of a change as it is happening.  Accept you can do even less than before.  Accept that others might not be able to accept these changes. Repeat to yourself – this too shall pass.  Accept that this is a difficult process. Accept it all and do not judge yourself or worry about who is judging you.  Accept that this process of growing a tiny human will forever change you. Accept yourself and your ever-changing reality. Inhale and acknowledge it – exhale and accept it.

Pregnancy: 1st Trimester 

I like to say that the first trimester is the worst because you have all these symptoms but are usually not ready to tell people about the pregnancy as yet.

 So you sit there and silently suffer and pray that you pull off hiding the need until you’re ready to share.

The morning sickness began after the first month for me. Definitely by the 8th week I was nauseous 100% of the time and barely able to have any meals.  It would worsen during my over an hour commute and had me carrying carsick bags everywhere I went.  It was all day sickness from the beginning.  Although it was worse in the morning.

I had to switch up my routine to accommodate my all day sickness.  I would take showers at night so I could have the morning to be sick and make time for the snails pace I had adopted.  Then I began to religiously eat  breakfast at home first thing every day. To skip that step would increase my nausea tenfold.

My ​abdominal pain continued and ended up lasting for around 9 weeks before it started being less severe but somehow more frequent. It would give way to excruciating pelvic pain in the second trimester.  Other than that I had the normal symptom of tiredness that most women feel in the 1st trimester.  So tired I would lay in the couch every chance I got.  Between the severe exhaustion and nausea/vomiting I as rarely seen off the couch unless I was at work.