Early July Morning, Cocoa Beach, Florida

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

The 11th Commandment

I have a lot of flaws, we all do. One flaw I have been working on for years is trying to not be so judgmental. To me, this is so important, I call it the 11th Commandment.

How many of us have looked at someone and thought, "Why in the world did they do that" to find there was a perfectly good reason for their decision? I'm sure more times than we would like to admit.

In today's world of technology, it is so easy to say things to people that we probably would not ordinarily say to them...that is through the keyboard. Cyber bullying is a horrible thing. Many have fallen victim to this selfish thing, including my daughter. Thankfully, she didn't pay any attention to it. But, there are some out there that have a difficult time with self esteem, and, therefore, any type of bullying can be very challenging, sometimes even deadly. Many have even committed suicide over bullying. 

Being judgmental can be a type of bullying. We should not pass judgement until we walk in the shoes of those we are looking at, and of course we will never walk in other people's shoes.

Now, we do need to use good judgement. That is different. For example, a friend has had a few too many drinks. We should not get into the car that he is about to drive off in. In fact, we need to make sure they do not get behind the wheel. This will keep everyone safe...this is using good judgement.

Sometimes we may judge people for the way they dress, what they look like, or maybe what they may say or do. There may be a reason for this. I remember one time I was at an event where everyone was dressed nicely. It was a place where men were to be dressed in suites and ties, and women in nice dresses. A women, who needed to be at this meeting came in wearing jeans, tshirt and athletic shoes. Everyone turned and looked at her in a very judgmental way. She knew better than to come dressed like that! Later, I found out her trip to this meeting did not go as planned. You see, her flight was suppose to come in the day before, but due to a situation beyond her control, she had arrived shortly before this meeting. Then, to top that off, her luggage was lost. Yes, she could have just skipped out on this event because she did not have the "right" clothing, but she knew she needed to be there, and elected to go regardless of her situation. 

I can remember several years ago when my kids were very young...we were grocery shopping. One of our children started to whine about something.  We were standing in line to check out, and so we did not leave; I just ignored it. Soon, an elderly woman got in line behind me. She gave me that evil eye and then made a snide remark of how I should discipline my child. Her comments toward me were meant to hurt me, to make me feel like a failure. It has been more than 20 years ago, and I still remember that. 

Anyway....I see children behaving like this all the time. It's just what they do. Children want something, and a parent tells them no, and so they sometimes have those tantrums in hopes that the parent will change their mind. As the caregiver, we should never give in to these type of behaviors. When I see this though, I try to comfort the parent. I smile and usually say something to them like, "I totally get it, I had four of my own," and then we usually have a little laugh.

So, next time you start to judge, think twice. Do you know the whole story? How would you react if you were in the same situation? We all need to think before we speak. It's like what my parents use to say to me..."If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

Let's remember the 11th commandment...Thou shalt not be judgmental.






Wednesday, August 12, 2015

9 tips for 9 months

Not long ago, I posted a blog about my pregnancy complications. Because I have four healthy, close together in age children, everyone assumes I had zero issues with getting them here. If you take the time to read that blog, you will find that was not the case. I shared my experience in hope that it could help someone who is going through what I went through.

I am inspired by a campaign that the American Recall Center is running on social media for the months of July and August 2015, called 9 Tips for 9 Months.  I think this is a great idea, for those of us who have been through the process of having children to share our thoughts for a healthier baby and you! 

As I think about this, I am reminded that it has been almost 21 years since I had my last child. Things have changed a great deal since October 1994. I am also reminded of my daughter who just had our first grandchild seven months ago. She is very old school, and so maybe a lot of you who read this are too. Even if you are not, many of the same tips I am about to share are still good in today's world.

#1....JUST BECAUSE SOMEONE SAYS YOU HAVE TO WAIT TO SHARE THE NEWS, YOU DON'T HAVE TO!!!!

Yes, that is right. If you want to wait, then that is fine, but if you want to shout it from the roof tops as soon as your pregnancy test shows positive, then go right ahead. We had a heck of a time trying to STAY pregnant. I had several early miscarriages, and I was really glad that I did not have to face it alone. Sure, I had the support of my husband, but sometimes, a girl needs girl support; someone that has been through it, or even someone who will just listen to you and cry with you. 

Also, what about those times when you feel pucky...? Yes I do mean morning sickness, etc. Coming into work looking like death...people can figure things out. I remember when my daughter, who lived four hours away at the time, sounded horrible when I spoke with her on the phone. She hadn't even taken a pregnancy test yet, and I finally told her to do that! I knew she was preggers! So, don't be silly, share the joyous occasion when YOU want to.

#2...PAY ATTENTION TO WHAT YOU EAT!

Now I don't want to scare anyone. True, you are eating for two, but that does not mean two Nutty Butty bars. Eating a healthy diet is not just important for your new passenger, but for you too. You will be more hungry, that is ok. You will need to eat more than usual, but eat the right foods. Your doctor can help. Fruits, veggies, lean protein, etc, is what you need to concentrate on, and yes the occasional treat is fine. This will keep you and your baby healthy, and be much easier for you to loose that weight after your child has come into this world.

Prenatal vitamins are a must. I would like to share an experience I had with them though. I am not a milk drinker, never have, it makes me sick. Ice cream, yogurt, cheese (which are high in fat), I love, just not a glass of milk...blah!!!! So, doctor gave me extra calcium. Within about six weeks, I started having contractions. Everyone told me, they were braxton hicks (which I thought was a bit early). Because of my history, I was really worried. I am so glad I did not listen to people, but called the doctor. It is not that common, but in my case I did not need that much calcium. It was actually putting me into real labor. I wound up in bed for a few days, but eventually the baby and I were fine. 

This story leads me to 

#3...MAKE SURE YOUR DOCTOR LISTENS AND THAT YOU LISTEN TO HIM. 

The doctor is employed by you. Make sure he is aware of your concerns. That is what you are paying him for. Sometimes, you will need to talk to the nurse. Do not hesitate to call and ask questions. 

You also have the responsibility to listen to your doctor. Make sure you have a good relationship with your doctor and nurse.  

One other thing, is make sure you know what you are taking and the side affects of certain drugs (over the counter and prescription). For example, Zofran, a drug used to help with symptoms of morning sickness, has been known to have adverse affects such as birth defects. You can read more about this here. This actually is a good lead in to the next thing....

#4 BE INFORMED

I am not much of a reader, but when I was first pregnant with our oldest, I read everything I could get my hands on. At the time, there was no internet (yes, I am dating myself), and so I went to the library looked stuff up, bring home a lot of books. Today it is much easier because we have so much information right at our fingertips, literally! If you have a questions about ANYTHING, Google search it. Oh! and research about after the baby arrives...colic, nursing, sleep issues, etc.

#5 BUT IT TOOK FIVE YEARS FOR THE LAST ONE!

Once we figured out why we were not able to have children and fix that, our second child came really quick! Are two oldest are 17 months and 3 days apart....YIKES.... At first it was a bit of a shock. But you know, everything was fine. The bond between these two children were so close. So what if you have children close together. Yes, there will be times when you feel overwhelmed, but take a deep breath, and remember, this will be a short moment in time, and soon, they will be headed out the door toward their own lives.

#6 TAKE IN EVERY MOMENT!

Keep a journal. Write your thoughts. Not too long ago, I saw a book that I wished I had had when I was pregnant. I saw it just after my daughter had her baby. It was a mommy journal, where you can put all your thoughts into it. You can get yourself a notebook and write your thoughts and feelings, keep track of your doctor appointments, information about what the doctor told you, ultra sound pictures, etc. Sometimes being pregnant seems like a forever thing, and sometimes you feel horrible. Between morning sickness, aches and pains, not getting enough sleep, etc, you feel you want it to be over. But truly, it is just a very short time, and you know,  I miss those little (and big) wiggles in my belly. Keeping a journal will help you remember.

#7 KNOW YOUR OPTIONS, HAVE A BIRTH PLAN, BUT DON'T BE TOO ATTACHED TO IT.

Today, there are so many options when it come to childbirth. Back in the day, you picked a doctor, went to your appointments, and when the time came, headed to the hospital and then you had the option as to what type of pain killer, if any you wanted, and then the baby was born. Today, you can go that route, or you can have a midwife, Douala, or doctor, and you can have your baby in the hospital, birthing center, or even at home. There is even an option to have a water birth, which my daughter really wanted. Sometimes, though, your plans will change. You may choose to give birth at a birthing center with a midwife, but due to certain situations, you might wind up having your child at a hospital. That is ok. My daughter had her heart set on a water birth, but her little Jewel came too quickly for that. 

When looking for you medical assistant, make sure they are qualified. Call your insurance company and make sure they are covered under your plan. Again...ask questions!!!! You need to comfortable and safe with your decision....and make it YOUR decision, what YOU want to do....

#8 LOOK NICE AND BE COMFORTABLE

True, there are days, when you will feel you want to be in bed all day. The truth of the matter is, once you get up and going, things will be better. So, unless your doctor tells you to stay in bed, get up, enjoy the day. Be happy. Clean yourself up, put on a little makeup, get dressed, and be beautiful, because you are. It is true that when you are carrying that special little one, that there is a certain glow about you. 

About clothing. Our first child was born in July, and we lived in the hot, humid south. I was working at the time and the air conditioning in our car was not working...blah! It was soooo hot!!! I found that loose clothing was the best! Cotton was wonderful, as it breathed, and I hated anything that was tight around my belly. Today, I see so many wearing tight clothing, and not sure that is the most comfortable thing. I learned that dresses were the most comfortable. Not only are they loose and more freeing, but they look nice. So give it a try.

One thing my daughter loved? A body pillow. When she mentioned that to me, I was reminded that I used several pillows when I slept. It cut down on the leg cramps, and since I am a belly sleeper, it aided me in sleeping better. Even if you are not a belly sleeper, you might want to try using a body pillow for a better nights sleep. 

#9 LAST BUT NOT LEAST, THE ADVICE YOU GET, AND YOU WILL GET A LOT OF IT.

This is kind of a funny one, since this whole blog is advice. You can listen to all the advice, but in the end, do what you think is best. People are going to share their birth story. Remember, each pregnancy, and birth are different, even your own. Just because this or that worked for one doesn't mean it will for the next. The thing that matters is YOU and your baby. Mom's have that sixth sense, listen to it. 

I remember when my husband and I first got married, we sat down with each of our parents and told them, that we would listen to advice that came from them, but don't take it personal if we do not follow that advice. The same goes for you and your baby, and when some of those stories get too graphic or scary for you, tell them to stop. Be nice about it, but let people know that you it makes you uncomfortable.

I remember, especially with my first, I was scared!  That is normal, after all it is your first, and you have no idea what to expect. But know this, you and your baby will be fine. At then end of it all you get that wonderful little gift to love, and who will love you back not matter what. 

Enjoy your new little one!




Monday, August 3, 2015

This is What Was For Dinner! YUM!


It's been awhile since I did a food post, so I decided to share what we had for dinner tonight....


It was really yummy! Here is the recipe....

Cook 16 oz Penne Rigate pasta according to directions, drain and set aside.

Brown a pound of spicy sausage.
While the sausage was cooking, I added a chopped onion and a 2 big banana peppers from our garden (chopped). When meat is brown, throw in a garlic clove.

Add a 14 oz can diced tomatoes; 1, 8 oz can tomato sauce and heat through.

Then here is the sinful part....
Add a cup of heavy cream. I added a wee bit more, because I had more than a cup, but not enough to do anything else with.

Stir the creamy sauce for a couple of minutes or so, until you get the thickness you want. Then add the drained pasta, mix and heat through. I topped with fresh basil from our garden...about 6 big leaves or so. 

You can also top with Parmesan cheese.

Serve with a side of salad, and
Enjoy!


Thursday, July 23, 2015

Progesterone...

Twenty-seven years ago today, after countless miscarriages, I finally gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. I want to share my story in hopes that it can help others going through the same things I did.

About a year after my husband and I were married, we decided to start our family. Everyone else around us had no problem starting their's and so we thought in no time, we would be having pitter patter of little feet.  That was not what was to happen.

At the time I was working at a major hospital, just downstairs from their infertility clinic. I was told that after one year of trying, then come see them. The first thing they did was run a few basic tests on both my husband and I. Everything came back normal. The next thing was to check if my plumbing was free and clear. After a very painful procedure, all was great.


Shortly before these procedures started, a family member approached me and suggested I have a progesterone test. She had had infertility issues and miscarriages, and come to find out, her problem was low progesterone. All that was needed to check this was a simple blood test. I mentioned it to my doctor, but was told that was pretty rare, and they first needed to run some other tests.

My next procedure was a laparoscopy to make sure of several things, including endometriosis. Before the test, again, I inquired about the progesterone. Still nothing.

After my laparoscopy, I was told there was some scar tissue, but not enough to prevent me from getting pregnant. They lasered what was there off, and spoke to me about what next. Again, I asked about the blood test. Still nothing.

During all this time, I was having very HEAVY and painful periods. I asked about that, and even wondered if maybe I was having miscarriages. I was informed that was not what was going on. I kept asking, and finally they told me the next time I think I had a miscarriage, to bring it in.  Well...I did.

Guess what!? I had had a miscarriage. No telling how many I had had. Finally after three years of going to the infertility clinic and one documented miscarriage, they did a blood test. I had EXTREMELY low progesterone. Really!? All of this heart ache could have been avoided. 

At first nothing was done, and I did get pregnant, long enough for a positive test. Sadly, shortly after I found out the good news, I miscarried...again. My doctor told me that we needed to wait a couple of months before getting pregnant, and that he would put me on progesterone (25mg, TWO times a day). Several months of me taking the progesterone, there was still no baby. The next step were infertility drugs. We really did not want to go down that street, and fortunately, we did not have to. I got pregnant! At first I was told to stay in bed for a couple of weeks, and after everything seemed to be fine, I was able to return back to work and most my other activities; everything, except dance and exercise. Needles to say, I was not able to get my baby fat off after the pregnancy, but that's ok, I had a beautiful baby boy, and that was all that mattered. 

We now have three boys and one girl. All our children were progesterone babies. In between all of them, and after our youngest I had other miscarriages, only because we had moved and I had new doctors who would not listen to me.

One story I would like to share...about two years after we had our daughter (2nd child), I became pregnant. Immediately, I went to the doctor asking for progesterone. He asked why I thought I needed it. I told him...so, then he prescribed progesterone, but told me I would not need it for a couple of months. I was really upset, and tried to explain my story. To shut me up, he gave me a shot of 25mg and told me to come back next week for another. I told him it would not be enough, but he would not listen. A few days later, I miscarried. I was furious! When I went in to see him after this, he told me, "Your young, and you have two children...." I left in tears and never returned to the heartless doctor!

A few months later, I found another doctor, and told her about what had happened. She put me on progesterone, and within a few weeks, I was pregnant. After a short time on bed rest, I had a very healthy pregnancy, and gave birth to another beautiful baby boy.

It wasn't long after we had our third child, that I got pregnant again. We had since moved to another state; the same state and doctor that delivered our last child. I learned I was pregnant very early, and called the doctor's office immediately. They told me I needed to wait a couple of months. I told them no, and came in. They did see me, and I was able to see the doctor. He was amazed that I knew so early. I told him that I had been through so much, that I knew my body well. I also told him about the progesterone. He decided that I needed it, but not for a couple of months. NO! I begged him to look at my records, which he did. The expression on his face was priceless. 

"Oh my!" He said. "We need to get you on that like, yesterday!" Sometimes I get so upset at doctors. It is so refreshing to have one that actually will listen. 

I was to be 35 by the time this child would be born, so I was double high risk, but this was actually my healthiest pregnancy. I took tap lessons, and even performed at 6 months pregnant. I never even had to have bed rest with this one YEAH!

Sadly, we did have one more miscarriage when I was 41, and that was the end of this story. Having a miscarriage not only puts your body through a lot, but also messes with your mind. I think of those babies that could have been...especially the last. I know it seems weird, but I feel that it would have been a girl, and I think of her a lot, especially when June comes along, because that is when she was due. She would have been 14 this past June...going into high school...

But you know, I must move one. It is not bad to think of these little spirits, and I hope that my story can help someone. I think sometimes we go through these hard times so that we can not only grow, but help each other. I am grateful for our four children, and now I am a grandmother. Life is such a special thing, and we need to all embrace it, and be happy with what we have...it could be so much worse. 



Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Are You A Pioneer? YES!

When we think of Pioneers, we think of those people who, long ago, went west to settle that vast area. These people were strong and experienced many things...both good and bad. 

The other day, I was reading an article which asked the question..."Are you a pioneer?"  I have heard people talk about their pioneer heritage and have marveled at the many stories they have shared. My first response to that question would be, "No." But then as I read on, I found that, well, maybe I am a pioneer. 

The definition of a pioneer is someone who was the first. That could mean the first to attend college, or even graduate from high school. Maybe you were the first to play a varsity sport. There are a lot of ways that any of us can be pioneers. I would like to share my pioneer story with you.

I grew up going to a Catholic school and yet was a member of the Baptist Church. I remember my mom taking us three girls to church every Sunday. We attended the First Baptist Church in our hometown. I was about eight when I was baptized there. As the years went by, I started have many questions. I remember one time talking to our minister about some of them, and the answers I got disturbed me. 

One question I had was what happens to us after we die? Will we know our parents? Our family and friends? The answer I got was, "No. We will have no recollection of this earth life." Now I do know that many Baptist Churches believe in an after life. This particular minister did, but how he explained it to me, that we would not know our parents in heaven as our parents on earth, seemed so, well, not right. What is the purpose of this life anyway?

As I asked more questions, I can remember the minister telling me that I should not question God. Well, I was not questioning Him, I just wanted to know Him better. Soon after this, at the age of about 12, I quit going to that church. Our congregation at the time was loosing a lot of members due to some type of uproar, which I won't get into. My mom also felt uneasy, and so we started going to other churches...all Baptist, just different congregations. 

Eventually, my best friend and I decided to start visiting other religions. We went to all kinds, but still, I was not getting my questions answered, and I felt uncomfortable at these other places. By the time I was 14, I was not going to any church, and I was also not attending the Catholic school anymore. I was in high school. 

The second semester of my Sophomore year, I met a girl who was a Mormon. I really did not know much about Mormons, just that the Osmond's were Mormon. Not quite sure I even realized it was a religion.

One day, my friend came to lunch with some strange looking gold book. She had given a speech about her religion...Mormon. Hmmm. I started asking questions...A LOT of them, and she was able to answer ALL of them. Hmmm..I was very interested in this church. By the time we were graduating from high school, we were pretty good friends, and she was heading out to a Mormon school in Idaho. 

Our family was about to embark on a six week trek across the country from Florida all the way to California, into Mexico, up the West Coast of the US, into Canada, and then down through the Rocky Mountain States and then home. One place we were going through was Utah, and my friend suggested we go to Temple Square. 

I loved Temple Square. I loved everything about it, and before we left, I filled out a card so that I could receive more information about the church. Several weeks after we got home (I had forgotten all about getting information), my information showed up...in the form of two young men. We let them in, and they proceeded to teach us about the church. 

After several visits, my dad told the missionaries that we were not interested. I was very sad, because I was interested. I pretty much thought that was the end of that, but soon, my friend returned from college for Christmas break. We hung out a lot together during that two weeks...I even attended a church meeting with her. She eventually went back to school, but ended up coming home for the summer, and that is when I really started to do my investigating of the Mormon Church.

Long story short, I ended up going to the church college with my friend, and it was there I joined The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Six months later, my mom joined. It has been 36 years since I was baptized into the church, and it was the best decision I have EVER made. Because of the Mormon Church, I am who I am today. If it was not for the church, I hate to think where I would be...not a good thought. 

Many do not understand that members of The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter Day saints are indeed Christian. One thing that impressed my mom when she was learning about Mormons, is that everything we do, is in the name of Jesus Christ. When she was learning about the church, she was a Baptist Sunday School teacher, and found that in her lessons she was actually using the Book of Mormon to clarify many of the teachings in her class. The Book of Mormon testifies of Christ, it helps to understand the Bible. The Bible and the Book of Mormon go hand in hand in testifying of the Savor and his atoning sacrifice for ALL of us.

As members of the church, we are far from perfect, but we strive to head in that direction. Most of us try to be good examples, we pray to our Heavenly Father for guidance and direction, and we read scriptures often, many times daily. Family is very important, and we believe that if we live in accordance to our teachings and through our temples we can live with our families forever.

If you want to know more we have a great website mormon.org. Also at the top right of my blog there is a link (I'm A Mormon) to part of my testimony. Or you can just click here. You can check that out, and even read testimonies of other members. I hope you check it out.