18 weeks!

In case you didn’t know this Christmas Kyle and I announced that we will be introducing a new addition to our family this summer. BABY GLEASON is June 15th, 2015. Which just happens to be our anniversary.
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This put me currently at 18 weeks along. Like everything else in life every pregnant women has their own experiences, adjustments and expectations for being pregnant. So I thought I would share a little insight into mine.

The First Trimester- This was actually the part that I was most concerned about. After having kidney stones for a week this last summer I feel much less concerned about the joys of childbirth. As far as morning sickness goes I was lucky… or not so lucky to have had the pleasure of having night sickness instead of morning sickness. This gave me just enough energy to go to work, come home, eat and go to bed. And when I say eat I mean meagerly chow down on some toast, saltine crackers and oatmeal. Some additional good friends of mine were sea bands, ginger ale and peppermints.   All consumed by 6 o’clock so I could go to bed by 7. But as the saying goes…. “ This too shall pass”. And luckily it did. It is much more fun to be able to tell people that you are pregnant which I actually find to be the most difficult part of the first trimester. The internalizing of the news you really just want to shout out to everyone is a touch thing to keep to yourself.

My Reading List – I love to read. So naturally I want to soak up all the parenting advice I can. So I like to read a variety of books so I have lots of options for skills as well as sprinkle in some fun parenting books. I AVOID the book “What to expect when your expecting”… it raises your blood pressure while telling you how bad that is for the baby…. No thanks. So here are some of the books I have enjoyed.

Do Chocolate Lovers Have Sweeter Babies: The surprising science of pregnancy.

So fascinating! Did you know that people who do frequently eat chocolate while pregnant do in fact have more temperamental babies?

Bringing up Bebe : One American mother discovers the wisdom of French parenting.

I’m not going to take all the advice put into this book but I love to learn about how other cultures raise their babies. Also, at 3 in the morning why wouldn’t you want a full tool box of skills on how to calm your baby?

The Happiest Baby on the Block : The new way to calm crying and help your newborn baby sleep longer

I have heard this book really works so I’m excited to apply some of the advice in this book to my “forth trimester”

How Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm: And other adventures in parenting from Argentina to Tanzania and everywhere….

I haven’t started this one but its more just a light read to get me more excited to be a new mom.

Now don’t get me wrong. I have already read Pregnancy, Childbirth and the Newborn as well as reading the recommended Pregnancy book provided by my gynecologist so I feel I am getting well rounded information. Which is just how I like it.

My Constant Need to Clean – I always heard about the “Nesting Period” of pregnancy but I thought it would come much later. I find myself completely consumed by the need to reorganize our bathroom or rearrange my closet. Apparently my planning self is ahead of schedule.  I must say it does feel good to have things organized and clean. It frees up my brain for more important things like what to eat… and what color crib should we buy.

Pets.. pets… all around – My pets follow me EVERYWHERE. While cleaning the house our dog will literally follow me from room to room as I put things away. Every night when I go to bed she follows me into the room and doesn’t leave until I’ve gotten up. My cats are the same way, they can always be found in the same room with me… even when I use the restroom. I guess that is preparing me for my future of never being alone. Since my dog doesn’t go up stairs I find her whimpering when I am up their too long because she cant be near me. It is pretty endearing.

Boy or Girl? – This is driving me crazy. As a planning I of course want to know the sex of our baby. My husband would rather be surprised. Especially since in his words “30 years ago they didn’t need to know the sex of the baby” So…. We wont be finding out. But you know what I have found? 30 years ago it was a lot easier to not know. I find myself researching for our baby registry and the options are pretty clear…. Blue or Pink. The gender-neutral options are basically non-existent. I find this pretty frustrating. Just because you are having a girl doesn’t mean you want an entire house of pink items. So we choose what we can…. Starting with a neutral colored baby room with teal walls. I must say when people hear we don’t intend to find out they tell me how much fun it was not knowing for them…. So maybe Kyle is right.

Cravings – I must say I haven’t really had many cravings and when I do its mostly for fruit. Vitamin C has become my best friend. My biggest craving I would say by far has been juice. More specifically orange juice. I just can’t get enough of it. Other than that not much sounds very appealing. My cupboard is constantly full with options because what sounded really good yesterday just doesn’t sound that great today.

Since I am not even half way through my pregnancy I’m sure that I will have many more experiences to share. So far it has been pretty enjoyable, especially the last month or so. In two weeks we have our 5-month appointment in which we get to do another ultrasound. Yay! Another chance to see baby Gleason. I’m excited to see the baby looking like an actual baby since the last ultrasound was at 8 weeks. As we get closer and closer to the due date I find myself getting flutters of excitement. We cant wait for our baby to come…. But they have lots more growing to do in the mean time.

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Suicide Prevention Walk

This September I will be walking in the Out of Darkness Walk for the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

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This is such a personal cause for me for so many reasons. This year we will be walking in memory of my cousin Shane Myrvold who died by suicide at the age of 18. Although I was young when it happened, I have seen first hand the impact it has on a family. His death is  what sparked the desire to walk this year, which just happens to fall on the 20 year anniversary, but its not the only reason I feel compassion towards this cause.

I have seen so many close to me suffer through the years with mental illness and it frustrates me to know that it is still such a hushed topic. Why should it not receive as much attention or support from love ones as a heart attack? Depression can be just as dangerous and just as deadly. Why do we choose as a society to keep these, in most cases, very treatable illness’s in the “darkness”? So this is my small contribution to bring depression and mental illness out of the “darkness” and let those in need know that they have a support system.

Statistics from the American Foundation of Suicide Prevention.

Over 39,000 people in the United States die by suicide every year.
In 2011 (latest available data), there were 39,518 reported suicide deaths.
Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death for adults between the ages of 15 and 64 years in the United States.
Currently, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States.
A person dies by suicide about every 13.3 minutes in the United States.
Every day, approximately 108 Americans take their own life.
Ninety percent of all people who die by suicide have a diagnosable psychiatric disorder at the time of their death.
There are four male suicides for every female suicide, but three times as many females as males attempt suicide.
There are an estimated 8-25 attempted suicides for every suicide death (no complete count is kept of suicide attempts in the U.S.; however, the CDC gathers data each year from hospitals on non-fatal injuries resulting from self-harm behavior).

Statistics on Depression

Over 60 percent of all people who die by suicide suffer from major depression. If one includes alcoholics who are depressed, this figure rises to over 75 percent.
Depression affects nearly 10 percent of Americans ages 18 and over in a given year, or more than 24 million people
More Americans suffer from depression than coronary heart disease (17 million), cancer (12 million) and HIV/AIDS (1 million)
About 15 percent of the population will suffer from clinical depression at some time during their lifetime. Thirty percent of all clinically depressed patients attempt suicide; half of them ultimately die by suicide.
The best way to prevent suicide is through early detection, diagnosis and treatment of depression and other mood disorders.
Depression is among the most treatable of psychiatric illnesses. Between 80 percent and 90 percent of people with depression respond positively to treatment, and almost all patients gain some relief from their symptoms. But first, depression has to be recognized.

 

If you are interested in helping the cause you can DONATE here in hopes that we can provide those in need with a life raft.  Or sign up for a walk in your area.

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Confronting My Endometriosis

So this is my first truly personal blog post. It’s a topic that I rarely talk about unless with my close friends. Roughly three years ago I had a feeling that something was wrong. I have always had painful periods but things just seemed to be getting worse. I, like many of you out there, am a googler. I did my research, which I wouldn’t really recommend, and had a feeling that I had endometriosis. I scheduled a meeting with my doctor to go over my symptoms and like most of you was reassured by my family that “I’m sure everything is fine”. But still I had a feeling something wasn’t right.

Sure enough, my doctor said from my list of symptoms that it was likely I had endometriosis. She scheduled a laparoscopy to confirm.

Endometriosis is one of those words that is floating in the air, on commercials and in the news but if you aren’t aware of what it is here is an explanation.

“Endometriosis is a female health disorder that occurs when cells from the lining of the womb (uterus) grow in other areas of the body. This can lead to pain, irregular bleeding, and problems getting pregnant (infertility).”

In October 2011, I had my surgery and received confirmation that I did in fact have endometriosis. They even showed me photos of what it looked like and where they were growing. Post surgery my doctor gave me a few options for dealing with the pain which included hormone shots or additional surgeries. She then told me once I was ready to start a family to give it 6 months and then come back to see her if we had problems. And that was it. That was all the information I received.

I’m not saying that the medical world failed me. My doctor provided me with the medical advice that I needed. What she didn’t provide me was a direction for how to manage and accept my new diagnosis as well as the best resources for more information. I accepted the fact that I was going to be in pain frequently and continued on to do my own research on my options for minimizing the pain. The online world is full of false information and misguided advice, so I am much more trusting of published books. I purchased Endometriosis: A Key to Healing Through Nutrition. It was full of useful information on how to change your diet in order to reduce endometrial growth. Simple guides on what food to avoid such as beef, white breads and dairy products. Basically anything that has additional hormones in it. So I took the advice of the book and incorporated the changes into my daily diet.

As the idea of starting our own family become more and more of a thought I started my research again and found information on increasing my fertility. Knowing that it could be a genuine issue with my diagnosis I wanted to start researching right away. As I am researching fertility information I came across a blog that has in 5 minutes given me more information and understanding of my condition then 3 years of research, doctors and reading has done.

And all I could think is WHY HADN’T I KNOWN THIS!

The blog I am referring to is www.cureendometriosis.com/

This blog is what sparked my need to discuss my own condition in order to better educate those who are also suffering. In the article 3 Starting Blocks for you to figure out Endo! She goes an overview of the 3 things that stimulate and aggravate endometriosis.

1. Your Immune System

Recent research shows that there may be a direct link between endometriosis and immune system (this includes frequent yeast infections, allergies, and hypothyroidism) You are also more likely to suffer from Candida. What is Candida you may ask?

“Candida is a fungus, which is a form of yeast, and a very small amount of it lives in your mouth and intestines. Its job is to aid with digestion and nutrient absorption but, when overproduced, candida breaks down the wall of the intestine and penetrates the bloodstream, releasing toxic byproducts into your body and causing leaky gut. This can lead to many different health problems, ranging from digestive issues to depression.” – mindbodygreen.com

Here are 10 common candida symptoms

  1. Skin and nail fungal infections (such as athlete’s foot or toenail fungus)
  2. Feeling tired and worn down or suffering from chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia
  3. Digestive issues such as bloating, constipation, or diarrhea
  4. Autoimmune disease such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, Rheumatoid arthritis, Ulcerative colitis, Lupus, Psoriasis, Scleroderma or Multiple sclerosis
  5. Difficulty concentrating, poor memory, lack of focus, ADD, ADHD and brain fog
  6. Skin issues such as eczema, psoriasis, hives, and rashes
  7. Irritability, mood swings, anxiety, or depression
  8. Vaginal infections , urinary tract infections, rectal itching or vaginal itching
  9. Severe seasonal allergies or itchy ears
  10. Strong sugar and refined carbohydrate cravings

For many of you your thinking alright, what’s the big deal. But for someone who has just come to realize that all the small disorders and problems I have suffered from my whole life may be linked. That’s a “Light bulb” moment. I can honestly say that I can check 7 of the 10 symptoms on this list. Things I until now believed were completely unrelated. And for the record skin and nail fungal infections is not one of them. ☺

2. Your Thyroid

According to Melissa “I have recently been studying the effects of low iodine on women with Endometriosis and the figures are astounding. Most of us with Endometriosis have low thyroid function. This low thyroid function (Hyperthyroidism) is often a result of simply lacking enough Iodine. What is interesting about this is that low iodine can trigger growths in the wrong places!”

By doing very minimal research I found lots of information on how to boost your thyroid function.
Starting with these tips from Dr. Oz:

Eat more of these great sources of iodine to enhance thyroid function:

  1. Low fat cheese
  2. Cow’s milk
  3. Eggs
  4. Low fat ice cream
  5. Low fat yogurt
  6. Saltwater fish
  7. Seaweed (including kelp, dulce, nori)
  8. Shellfish
  9. Soy sauce

Eat less of these foods; they slow your thyroid because they block your thyroid and your medication from producing thyroid hormone properly, especially when eaten raw. Cooking these foods inactivates their anti-thyroid properties. These foods are called goitrogens, which are chemicals that lower thyroid function. Eat these foods sparingly or only once every four days:

  1. Almonds
  2. Cauliflower (Any vegetable that falls into the broccoli family is a goitrogen and shouldn’t be eaten more than twice a week if you have hypothyroidism.)
  3. Millet
  4. Pears
  5. Turnips
  6. Brussels sprouts
  7. Corn
  8. Mustard
  9. Pine nuts
  10. Cabbage
  11. Kale
  12. Peaches
  13. Soy (Isoflavones block iodine)
  14. Canola oil
  15. Peanuts
  16. Spinach

Workout every day – strongly suggest working out/walking every day so your thyroid gets a boost daily to correct the condition until your thyroid is running at an optimal rate.

Easy peasy. Why had no one just told me these simple things. And anyone who knows me this almost knocked me off my feet.

Here are symptoms of hypothyroidism:

  1. Feeling tired, weak, or depressed.
  2. Dry skin and brittle nails.
  3. Not being able to stand the cold. If your hands and feet get cold easily (this happens to me constantly!)
  4. Constipation.
  5. Memory problems or having trouble thinking clearly.
  6. Heavy or irregular menstrual periods.

Again, I can check several of these symptoms.

3. Toxins

There is extensive research being done now on the link between environmental toxins and endometriosis. Since no one knows what causes endometriosis I think this is a really interesting study.

So I did some additional research of my own. Here are some of the toxins being examined:

  1. Dioxin and dioxin-like chemicals – the most common source of human exposure is fatty food of animal organs. In the U.S., milk and dairy products and meat have been by far the most important sources.
  2. TCDD – Can be found in certain herbicides. The greatest production occurs from waste incineration, metal production, and fossil-fuel and wood combustion.
  3. PCBs- Individuals can be exposed to PCBs through breathing in contaminated air, consuming contaminated food, and by skin contact with old electrical equipment that contain PCBs.

If you would like to do your own research you can start with the Oxford Journal

In her post she didn’t include the toxins and where they come from. The reason I included the toxins was not to scare you into moving to a remote village to grow your own vegetables and cattle. It was to draw out the importance of cleansing your body of toxins which was her point. Here are her 7 tips of cleansing.

I’m not normally a person who takes a political stand on an issue and I’m also not someone who focuses entirely on all natural and holistic healing. I take Tylenol when I have a massive headache and Tums when I have an upset stomach. What I am is someone who wants to be informed of all my options and to know that not everything works for everyone. I do feel frustrated that like most people I go to the doctor to be informed of my health and to get advice on how to be a healthier person. So why had no one informed me of all these possible interconnected symptoms, or the eating habit changes I could be making to ease my pain. Why was hormone therapy and surgery the only “treatment options” given to me. Even when doing research online my finding were clouded with these options.

From my own personal experience I do believe that medical intervention is sometimes a necessity. And I myself have gone through more then one journey of needing medical help. But sometimes what I also need is alternatives.