Browsing Category: Graves Disease

Safe Babywearing Practices and My Babywearing Journey

safe babywearing collage

If you know me in real life you know I love babywearing, it is my saving grace as a mom of many littles and honestly I have no idea how I would take care of all of them if I didn’t babywear. Since I have a passion for babywearing I am a Boba ambassador and am sharing my babywearing story to help educate you on safe babywearing and the benefits of babywearing. When I had my first daughter we registered for a baby carrier and it got a lot of use. I found that wearing my daughter was so much easier than constantly holding her and it made things like the grocery store much more pleasant. My husband even wore our daughter, in fact it was the only way he felt confident that he could keep her happy for long periods of time if I had to do something. As anew mom I was completely unaware of all the babywearing options and used a carrier that faced out. While it did provide great bonding it not only killed my back and my husbands as she grew but it was not the best option for her either.

babywearing

 

When I had my second daughter I bought my first sling and enjoyed that with her, then I discovered babywearing with baby facing in. I fell in love with the baby facing inward carriers, the bonding was so much better and the snuggling can not be beat. I wore my second daughter much more often and until I became too pregnant with my third daughter she was worn all the time. It was with my third daughter that I discovered the Boba Wrap and it was a lifesaver. My daughter had severe acid reflux and we could not lay her flat without her screaming. I was able to wear her in the Boba Wrap from the time she was 3 days old in a vertical position that kept her pain free and happy. The Boba Wrap kept her safely in place with head support so I could be an active mom with my 4 and 2 year old, I would have been lost without it. When my 3rd daughter was 6 months old I was diagnosed with Graves Disease and had to abruptly quit nursing due to my much needed medicine. It was a very stressful time since my baby had never had formula or used a bottle before and the transition was very rough. As I mourned the loss of our bonding over nursing I began wearing her even more to keep us bonded. My daughter was worn so much that she was completely sleep trained in the baby carrier. This was a huge blessing because when she was 10 months old I had a total thyroidectomy and was not allowed to pick her up for a month. Not being able to give my daughter the closeness to mommy that she needed was really hard but my amazing husband wore her all the time and made sure she still felt close to her parents. After my surgery I jumped back into babywearing and wore her daily until she was 2.

boba wrap babywearing

 

My 4th daughter followed the trend of babywearing from birth first with the Boba Wrap and them with multiple soft carriers like the Boba 3G. Now baby number 5 is being worn daily and she not only uses the Boba Wrap but the new Boba 4G with infant insert. I do not believe in letting my kids cry it out and honestly we have never had major crying issues. I firmly believe that the bond of babywearing has helped my children to have a strong and healthy attachment to both mom and dad. When I have a fussy baby all it takes is for my husband or I to wear them and they are content. Whether I am at home, the grocery store, church or the soccer field you can find me wearing my baby. Not only does it make my life more manageable it keeps my babies close and happy!

 

boba baby

 

9 Reasons not to carry your baby facing out

If you are unfamiliar with babywearing or why it is safer to wear your baby facing inward Boba is a great resource. As a maker of only inward facing baby carriers Boba is committed to safe babywearing.

 

 

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Pregnancy Update 37 1/2 weeks and Counting

pregnancy thankful

 

I realized that I haven’t really said a whole lot about my pregnancy this time and it is almost over, hooray! The reason is until last weekend my pregnancy was going really well, almost too well given my history. I get pregnancy induced hypertension EVERY SINGLE PREGNANCY and each time it starts earlier and is more severe. With  my last pregnancy it was so bad I was hospitalized multiple times, my fluid got too low in the placenta and we barely made it to 36 1/2 weeks at which point we thought my 7 pound baby would be fine. Ultimately she was but she did need 20 hours in NICU for her lungs and that was awful. That pregnancy was very stressful and very scary and it led my husband and I to have some very serious talks about if we should be done having kids. If my current trend had continued my next child would have been at least a week earlier and that meant a for sure stay in NICU and for more than 20 hours, I was not sure I could handle that.

Obviously we chose to have more kids and I have been waiting for things to go haywire this pregnancy and so far nothing too crazy. I am currently 37 weeks and a few days and I have not gone this far since my second pregnancy so it seems a bit surreal and honestly I feel like I am overdue. My blood pressure has been up for awhile now but not so high I needed medicine or to cause panic or extra hospital stays. Last weekend I did end up checking into the hospital on Saturday night and stayed until Monday morning. I started experiencing some swelling last week, mild but noticeable in my legs and hands. Then on Friday my right ankle swelled to five times the normal size and had what looked like a sack of fluid on it, my left ankle was barely more swollen than normal, my blood pressure also spiked pretty high. Long story short I monitored it and on Saturday it began hurting a lot so I called the OB on call and they said go to the hospital. Everything calmed down after some observation and they determined I was fine and baby looked good, then my blood results came back super low for potassium. This led to an EKG, everything is fine, and admittance to get my potassium level back to a safe range. It took more than anticipated but we got my potassium to normal by Monday morning and I was released.

 

37 weeks

 

I am happy to say that I have had no swelling since being released and have felt much better. Baby is getting huge, the measured her in the ultrasound Saturday at 8 pounds which scares me, my biggest baby was 7 pounds 9 ounces. So I am just chugging away and hoping to go into labor before 39 weeks at which point they will induce me. I have never gone into labor on my own so am slightly apprehensive that I will not recognize it and be that lady who had her baby in a car! So I would appreciate prayers for a safe and quick delivery of a baby who is not massively huge, ok healthy is all I really want! I will keep you updated as D day approaches. And yes remember I have Graves Disease so all of you who were told pregnancy and Graves Disease does not work this is baby number 2 post total thyroidectomy and it’s going great!

 

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Pregnancy and Graves Disease, Making it Work!

baby bump

I have written in spurts about my Graves Disease in the past and you all have been with me as I got the diagnosis, made the treatment decision, underwent a total thyroidectomy and learned how to live without my thyroid so it only seems fitting I share about pregnancy and Graves Disease.

Pregnancy and Graves Disease are not normally associated together, in fact when I was seeking treatment for my Graves Disease I ended up leaving several doctors after they told me having more kids was silly and too complicated, I had 3 that was enough. Now notice they said complicated, not risky, not dangerous just complicated. Well when I finally found the doctor who led me down the path to my thyroidectomy she said more kids, ok we just need a plan, so much for too complicated.

Now not to make light of it there are some complications when you do not have a thyroid and are pregnant. During pregnancy the thyroid changes how much it produces, a lot, and without a thyroid you need to replicate those changes with your  medicine. How? Lots and lots of blood draws. My last pregnancy was a trial run for figuring out my needed Synthroid dosages. I had my blood drawn almost every 2 weeks as we made lots of adjustments figuring out what my body needed. It was annoying, but not dangerous or risky for the baby.

This pregnancy we have a bit of a road map to follow and so far so good. I have been getting my blood drawn every 4 weeks although this last time it should have been 3. My husband and I have gotten very good at spotting the signs that say I have too much or too little Synthroid. For about a week I could not get enough sleep. I mean bed at 8 up at 6 mid day nap then 2 hour afternoon nap and back to bed at 8 and still I was tired all the time. After having my blood drawn it was no surprise to find I needed to increase my Synthroid dosage. Only a day into my new dosage I felt so much better. While in the throws of the exhaustion it was hard for me to distinguish if it was pregnancy tired or more, thankfully my observant husband saw it as more, he was right.

All this to say there will need to be adjustments and monitoring but I am so happy with how smooth it has been being pregnant post total thyroidectomy with Graves Disease and I wish all doctors told the possibilities and were not so negative about pregnancy.

Now many of you know my pregnancies get complicated but my other complications have nothing to do with my Graves Disease I am just one of the lucky ones who gets pregnancy induced hypertension, yay me!

Right now I am a little over 15 weeks an counting down until we found out if our girls streak continues or if a boy will join our family, can’t wait 5 weeks to go!

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Happy World Rare Disease Day TO ME! #raredisease

graves disease

 

When I was diagnoses with Graves’ Disease almost 3 years ago I had no idea it came with it’s own day, how lucky am I?

 

rare disease day

In all seriousness today is World Rare Disease Day a day dedicated to bringing awareness to 7,000 rare diseases and disorders affecting 300 million people and Graves’ Disease is one of those Rare Diseases.

So what is Graves Disease?

According to the Mayo Clinic Graves’ Disease is an immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism). common symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Fatigue
  • A rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • A fine tremor of your hands or fingers
  • An increase in perspiration or warm, moist skin
  • Sensitivity to heat
  • Weight loss, despite normal eating habits
  • Enlargement of your thyroid gland (goiter)
  • Change in menstrual cycles
  • Erectile dysfunction or reduced libido
  • Frequent bowel movements or diarrhea
  • Bulging eyes (Graves’ ophthalmopathy)
  • Thick, red skin usually on the shins or tops of the feet (Graves’ dermopathy)

I am one of the lucky ones who also has Graves’ ophthalmopathy which means:

  • Bulging eyes
  • Excess tearing
  • Dry, irritated eyes
  • Gritty sensation in the eyes
  • Pressure or pain in the eyes
  • Puffy eyelids
  • Reddened or inflamed eyes
  • Light sensitivity
  • Double vision
  • Limited eye movements, resulting in a fixed stare
  • Blurred or reduced vision (rare)
  • Ulcers on the cornea (rare)

I was fortunate in that my symptoms came on very suddenly and very strongly after my 3rd daughter was born. I don’t really remember much of the first year of her life as managing my disease really took precedence. The difficult thing with a disease like Graves’ Disease is that the symptoms can often be confused for other things. For me the fact that I had a thyroid 4 times the normal size really helped with my diagnosis, all my other symptoms doctors attributed to my having 3 kids, which was beyond frustrating. It took 3 doctors and some tests to determine my disease but once we found answers I was so relieved. My anxiety and depression were out of control and it was very difficult to even get through the day let alone care for 3 young kids.

Once I had a diagnosis due to my severity and the development of Graves’ ophthalmopathy several years prior it was determined that permanent action needed to be taken quickly. (I had a cornea ulcer 2 years prior but we did not know I had Graves’ Disease at the time). My choices were radioactive iodine or a total thryroidectomy, I chose total thyroidectomy. When my Colette was just 11 months old I had my thyroid completely removed, my thyroid was so big they feared I would suffocate when they put  me under, it was crazy big I oculd not sleep on my back or I choked!

Well 4 1/2 hours later I awoke to no thyroid, it was so big we had some bleeding issues and since I could not go home until the bleeding stopped I was in the hospital for 4 days. I hardly remember those days other than my husband was there almost always and when he wasn’t my family was, I was never alone. I still remember my brother and his girlfriend ( now wife) sitting by my bed through the night watching Netflix on my laptop so my husband could get some sleep. It really was a team effort and I am so lucky I had family to help and support me.

Once I went home I could not really move my head much or hold my baby for a month. That was a really rough month but again family came through big time helping care for my kids, I am truly blessed. Now that I have no thyroid I had to make some major life adjustments since I have to take a daily pill to replace the thyroid hormones I am missing. It has taken a really long time to get my medicine adjusted and made for a complicated pregnancy with my fourth daughter.

While the task of getting my medicine regulated has been complex, I absorb at an unnatural and unpredictable rate, my Graves Disease has been successfully managed since my surgery and I would do it again in a heartbeat. My eyes are still a problem and I have random and unexplained flare ups often, it has meant giving up my contacts which has been hard (vain I know) and when yours eyes hurt it makes for a rough day. But last week I marked 3 months on the same dosage and that is a record for me, I am so so happy about this milestone. I am thrilled to think we may have finally found my correct dosage and have been feeling great lately.

So today on Rare Disease Day I challenge you to learn about a disease that you know someone has, take a moment to understand what they are going through. And then celebrate like I am, that modern medicine has made many of these diseases manageable!

 

 

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I’m A Duck… QUACK!

duck

The irony of being a private person and having a blog is that you put your world on display  for all to see, yet you often get to choose the version people see. I often struggle with sharing sometimes I want to share too much and worry I will regret it later and other times I know I share too little and wish I had the courage to share more. I have shared some about my Grave’s Disease and it has been so rewarding. I spent an hour on the phone with someone I did not know who watched my video about my Total Thyroidectomy Scar and reached out to me. We have become supporter’s of each other as we journey down this crazy path of thyroid problems and I am so grateful because it is a really lonely path.

I have 4 kids, yes 4 kids and I had all of them before I was 30 and my oldest was 5 1/2 when my youngest was born and it is crazy and wild and overwhelming and amazing and so many other things all wrapped into one and I hardly share anything about what that means for real. Why? Because I am a duck unruffled sailing smoothly along where others can see and underneath I am paddling for dear life. Kicking frantically as I try to figure out how to be the mom I want to be while caring for 4 young kids.

I know that my choice of family size is controversial, as are a lot of things I do. I am constantly teaching my daughter to be strong and proud of who she is and to realize she is not like anyone else, we are not like anyone else. Yet I worry. I worry about how I look and my family looks to others. I worry that one encounter with me will reinforce a stereotype they have about big families. That my toddlers one uncharacteristic temper tantrum will make someone think look at that crazy lady with too many kids. And that worry is making me crazy sometimes.

So do you want to know what it is like to have 4 kids this close together, what it is really like to be me?

Crazy, exciting, sad, overwhelming, insane, exhilarating and exhausting.

I have 4 kids and some days that is too many and some days it is not enough. One morning I wake up and say I cannot handle anymore kids and the next day I tear up at the thought of never having another baby.

My house is a mess 95% of the time which I hate, I want a clean house. I want to be that friend you can drop in on anytime but I am not PLEASE CALL AHEAD, preferably at least one day. I have 4 messy little kids who are terrible at cleaning up after themselves… it’s a work in progress.

I struggle with work life balance. I am a stay at home mom who fell backwards into a work at home job that I love. I struggle with feeling guilty when it takes me away from my kids. I struggle with finding the time to be the best mom I can be while doing the best I can at my job. I am grateful it provides the extra income we depend on and I am grateful I love it yet I can not seem to find the perfect balance most of the time.

All of this to say life is messy and no one is perfect we are all just ducks trying our best to look unruffled while we frantically paddle our legs for dear life towards dry land!

And thanks my dear readers for coming along on this ride with me.

Up next find out why having 4 kids and finding a baby sitter is like finding a needle in a haystack….

This duck is going to bed my legs are tired from paddling and my FitBit Zip says I only have 5203 steps for today LIAR you must multiply that by 4 to really understand all of my steps!

 

 

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