Shocked.

I am shocked.

I went to wordpress to start a new blog about my experience with motherhood.  I signed in since I had a blog already started,  and I was shocked that someone had started one in my name! Using my password!  And that someone was  . . . . me! 5 years ago!

Didn’t even remember.

So much has happened since then (stage-4 cancer, fertility issues, three new jobs, my husbands tenure process (ordeal!)), but the posts are spot on and fun, so I am going to continue that blog: phatmom.wordpress.com.

I have just started working from home, and I can actually stand to be on the computer for fun, instead of coming home from my 8-6 job and hour commute exhausted wanting to get as far away from any screen as possible.

So for those who want to know what has happened in the past four years . . .

2008 Moved back to Dallas from the Big Island of Hawaii.  I know . . . . why, right?

2009 Got cancer.   All over.  Nearly died.  Husband got tenure (whoopee! infinity X smiley face)

2010 Got better. Picked up the pieces. Bought a house.

2011 Got a real job that actually used my undergraduate and grad school degree in business.

2012 Started thinking about kiddos and was told I couldn’t have any.  Planned and went on my dream trip to Africa.  Got knocked up (happily) right after I got back from the Kalahari.

2013 Started an amazing new job where I get to work from home and take care of my darling Sebastian, who is on the way!

I am still in shock that I have a blog, so no further posts for now until I am calm, cool, and collected, but so glad to be back throwing my thoughts into the internet ether, hoping for an echo!

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Wait doctor, could you save that?

Okay, interesting topic, umbilical cord stem cell/blood banks.

Why would anyone want to save it?

If your baby is healthy, you don’t need it.  However, if the blood system has been ravished by disease or by treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy, new stem cells are necessary to rebuild the body’s blood and immune systems. Preserved cord blood stem cells represent a significant new method of rebuilding a person’s blood system. Someday, the umbilical cord stem cells you preserve could be used to give life to someone close to you. Not only are the cord blood stem cells a perfect match for the donor, they could also provide life saving benefits for siblings and other family members

What diseases can it help?

There is a LOOOOONG list, but here are a few:

Leukemia

Stem Cell Disorders

Non-Hodgkin’s

Lymphoma
Hodgkin’s Disease

Inherited Platelet Abnormalities

Inherited Metabolic Disorders

Inherited Immune System Disorders

Plasma Cell Disorders

How much does it cost?

There are a bunch of different fees, but basically it is around $1000 for the storage, with $100 per year for maintenance.

Am I gonna do it?

So once I rented a convertible, parked it, left it for a total of 8 minutes, came back, and it was knifed.  Someone had tried to cut into it to get the goods inside (which was nothing but beach towels).  Had I paid the $18.99 for the  one day I rented it, I could have turned it in, said sorry about your car, and left.  I didn’t, and I went through months of hassles and fees and going back and forth with my insurance company.

Now when I rent, I get the insurance, and I have turned in cars damaged (not that I am trying), and they just say, okay, thank you very much.

Now, this is someone else’s car.  Insuring my kid?  Heck yea! In a heart beat.  I have several friends that got lymphoma while they were in their 20s, and a friend of mine’s younger brother just passed from Leukemia.  I could never look my kid in the eye and say, sorry honey, I wanted to go on that vacation instead, so now you might not live.

Not even a question.

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Coolest Pregnancy Test Ever!

Yes, I know it is a little strange to get excited about a pregnancy test, but I am a geek at heart and can’t help being amazed my technology.

So, normal pregnancy test:  pee on the strip and wait for the chemicals in your body to activate the colors, double lines, happy face, whatever.

The PTeq Pregnancy test looks like works like a USB key.

You pee on one end (the end that goes into the computer is protected with a little plastic cap so as not to be doused by liqued), stick the other into the computer, and the power will then start the electrospray ionization process.

You then get a very cool display on your computer.  According to ThinkGeek, “the mass spectrometry software on the device comes with several sequenced hormones, including hCG (human Chorionic Gonadotropin), hCG-H (hyperglycosylated hCG – for detection before your first missed period), and LH (luteinizing hormone – for detection of your most fertile days).”

  • No batteries required – draws power from USB
  • USB 2.0 compatible
  • Plug and play, easy operation
  • Operating Systems: Win 98, ME, 2000, XP, Vista, Linux 2.4 or higher, Mac OS 8.6 or higher
  • 20 test strips included
  • 99% accuracy*

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Window to the Womb

Royal Phillips Electronics has come out with an amazing new ultrasound where prospective parents can experience the wonder of a view inside the womb! See here!

It doesn’t work much differently than a regular ultrasound, except that the technology reading the black and white images turns it into a 3-d image for you to better “see” your baby. Think old type Disney cartoons as the old black and white ultrasound, and then 3d/4d baby scan is like, Pixar. Just a bit cooler.

Why 4d and not just 3d? Are we really dealing with the 4th Dimension here? Of course not :) 3-d will render a 3-d image, while 4-d will render a moving 3d image. You can see your baby yawn, squirm, make a face at the annoying ultrasound noise, or just sleep peacefully.

In an article from the Washington post:

Last year, Philips researchers began modeling ultrasound visits after a spa-like experience, complete with ambient lighting and new technologies intended to reduce stress. Images are streamed onto a big, bubble-like screen. With large, clearer images, Rettenbacher says, doctors may be able to “diagnose abnormalities a lot earlier than [they can] today

If you are gonna get just one, it makes more sense to wait a bit until your 26th-34th week. However, if you are going to do it multiple times, anytime during your second trimester would work

So how do you get one? From my cursory research, it seems like it is very popular in the UK, and of course not so popular yet in the United States (why are we always so technologically behind?) Just google 4d baby scan and your state and a bunch of clinics should pop up!

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A glass of wine to unwind … while pregnant?

“Nothing makes people more uncomfortable than a pregnant woman sitting at the bar,” said Brianna Walker, a bartender in Los Angeles. “The other customers can’t take their eyes off her.”

Being an avid wine drinker, I read a fabulous article in the NYT about drinking during pregnancy.  As Fetal Alcohol Syndrome is a danger for mothers who get drunk constantly, most doctors are not even allowed under their insurance to imply that it might be alright to indulge in one glass of wine.

However, many OBGYNs are letting their patients know that as long as they don’t indulge in more than half a glass, they will not be causing their child irreparable harm by enjoying one of the oldest beverages on the planet.  I hope this puts the mind of those who didn’t know they were pregnant when they went to Vegas with girlfriends and did shots and sat in the hot tub for an hour.

Please read the article and peruse the comments I have pasted in from the Berkeley Parents Network.

My husband and I celebrated some very good news with a bottle of Champagne, of which I consumed the vast majority, the very night before I figured out I was 6 weeks pregnant. Surprise! We weren’t trying to conceive. And that wasn’t the only alcohol I’d comsumed over the four weeks since conception. I completely freaked out. I went to my first OBGYN appointment in tears. My doctor very calmly smiled and remarked that a bottle of Champagne is how many babies come to be. Of course, she was talking about the moment of conception, but she knew the specifics of my situation and was utterly unworried. That baby is an awesome four year old boy now, who, despite being a handful, is smart as a whip and normal in every way. Please don’t freak out too much about something you can’t undo.

I am an American who spent her first pregnancy in Paris. My OB was an American, though she had been there for quite a while. In my experience, the ”no-amount-is-safe orthodoxy” you described is particularly American. At restaurants, waiters would be routinely surprised, even shocked, when I would pass on having a glass of wine, even when I was visibly (very visibly!) pregnant. In fact, a few times my OB even directed me to have a glass! During that pregnancy I drank wine fairly often (a couple of glasses a week? My memory is rusty), but I did not drink hard alcohol nor did I drink during the first trimester (but that part is just personal superstition, not based on medical evidence). I’m now pregnant again (in the Bay Area this time) and, although my opinion on the! subject hasn’t changed, I’ve found that I drink less — though it may simply be because we go out to dinner less frequently!

As an American mom who enjoys a glass of wine with dinner — or two … or even three ;^) — as much as any of those bon vivant French femmes out there, here’s my unofficial & personal opinion for which the Berkeley Parents Network cannot be held legally responsible or liable: Hold off until after the first trimester, then go ahead & uncork that lovely merlot & sip in moderation. Since you’ll only be having one small glass with dinner, do consider treating yourself & upgrading to a finer-than-usual vintage. I did do a bit of research on the wine & pregnancy issue. It’s hard to find information on this since doctors, nurses, midwives, & publishers of pregnancy information *have* to stick to the ”no amount is safe during pregnancy” orthodoxy for legal as well as professional reasons. Since nobody knows the exact point at which alcohol consumption crosses the line from harmless to posing a hazard to the baby’s development, it’s better to err on the side of caution & try to avoid negative outcomes & the accompanying potential for lawsuits. However, it really *is* better to avoid alcohol & other potentially harmful environmental factors (paint fumes, dangerous falls, serious illnesses, etc.) during the first trimester, because that’s when the baby’s central nervous system & other vital organs begin developing.

I’m sure you will get lots of comments on this one! Wine has been an important mutual interest for my husband and I for more than 20 years ! (wine groups, vacations to wine regions, collecting, etc.). During my first pregnancy, I had maybe 3-4 SIPS of wine the entire pregnancy. My second pregnancy I had a heart to heart with my OB (tops in the field) and asked whether it would be truly harmful if I occasionally had a 1/2 glass of wine with dinner. My OB said that her insurance wouldn’t allow her to say it was okay, but in fact especially after the first trimester, a little wine with dinner wasn’t going to do any harm. A pediatric MD friend of mine agreed. My European friends say that their doctors allow up to TWO GLASSES per day!! Personally, I was very happy to be able to have a half glass now and then. It certainly added to my quality of life during my pregnancy and while I undertand the dangers of fetal alchohol syndrome – its beyond belief that an occassional glass of wine with food after the first trimester could do harm.

Please do further research, but I wanted to get you thinking.  I like the advice of trying a higher vintage.  If you can only have 6 oz, better make them quality!

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Cool Birth Announcements

Consumers are never too young for a little gravanity, particularly when proud parents are buying it for them. Enter 5starbaby.com, which offers personalized birth announcements fashioned after movie advertisement posters.

Each movie poster birth announcement from 5starbaby is tailor-made for the new arrival, complete with all the critical “stats” about the baby’s birth and the names of loved ones as “supporting cast.” Parents are listed as “producers,” the doctor is named as “director” and the hospital is listed as the “filmed in” setting, for example. “Critics’ quotes” can also be included, as can “catering” by the mother and options for virtually any other special people or ideas the parents want listed. “Ratings” given are “B” for boy, “G” for girl or “T” for twins. Movie poster birth announcements are 5-by-8-inch mini posters; pricing begins at USD 2.50 each with envelopes included. 5starbaby.com also offers large poster formats ranging from USD 25 to USD 120 each, and gift certificates are available for baby showers or other occasions.

Buffalo, NY-based 5starbaby.com will ship orders anywhere in the world, but localized versions in other languages are a natural next step. One to bring to proud parents and gift-givers around the globe!

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Online Baby Books!

Lilgrams http://littlegrams.com

Baby Chapters http://www.babychapters.com/

Little Chapters http://www.littlechapters.com/

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