Friday, May 31, 2013

New birth trend? Gentle C-sections

For baby number two, 31-year-old Lindsey Canon is hoping for a much different birth experience.

During labor with her son Tommy two years ago, his heart rate decreased dangerously and caregivers quickly rushed her to the operating room for an emergency C-section. Since she hadn’t had an epidural yet, she was under general anesthesia and didn’t remember any of it.

“I didn’t see him until six hours later,” she said. “It’s hard when you don’t get to see your baby right when he’s born.”

She also had a hard time breastfeeding, and gave up after four weeks.

This time around, though, she’ll undergo a C-section now done a little bit differently at Texas Health Harris Methodist Hospital Fort Worth. The method, called gentle C-section, involves giving Mom and baby immediate skin-to-skin contact after birth and, if mom wishes, lowering the drape so she can watch the delivery. Gentle C-sections are done for Moms and babies without complications -- so Lindsey would not have been a candidate for it when she gave birth to Tommy.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Doing It All Wrong

My six-month-old son is currently napping in his swing. This will likely be the only nap he takes on his own all day. For all other naps today, he will either sleep while I hold him or on the Boppy on my lap as I work (and possibly in the car if we go somewhere).

At some point today, my child will watch “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” while  playing in his exersaucer so that I can finish up some work before it is time for a feeding. He might also watch whatever happens to be on Disney Jr. from his high chair after eating so I can do some cleaning in the kitchen and/or start dinner.

Tonight, I will nurse my son to sleep. More than once, if he wakes up and doesn’t go right back to sleep with just some comforting.

After we finish nursing for the night, my baby will spend at least a couple of hours sleeping on Daddy’s chest or on the boppy on the couch until I have finished up everything I need to do before going to bed.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Fur baby meet new baby

For many Moms, their first baby has fur, four legs, and a feeling that they own the house.

So when bringing home the new baby and introducing him/her to the dog, it’s important to put thought into how you’ll go about it. From a dog’s point of view, the new baby is taking over their personal space!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Never say never

Since becoming a Mom there are some things I have found myself saying “I never thought _____.”

As I was driving on my commute home the other day I thought it might be fun to share these. Do you have any of these to share?

I never thought that I would be excited when my daughter slept until 5:15 AM.

I never thought I would have Elmo songs stuck in my head.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Summer Vacation

The kids have been looking forward to it all year and it’s finally here: SUMMER VACATION!

Here are the top things I love about my kids’ summer vacations:
1. We don’t have to be at many places at specific times. While my hubby and I both have to get work on time, the issue is that no do they have to be at school dressed up in their uniforms. Which leads to number 2.
2. No uniforms! The kids can slap on whatever they want to wear. I’ve told the kids that as long as they are presentable when school starts back up (and they keep their grades up) that they can do whatever they want to their hair. (They have to pay for it; I’m not shelling out for pink hair.)
3. Summer camp. Our kids still only do day camp, but I appreciate the availability. Bonus: the kids get to go on field trips to places I have no desire to visit. It’s a beautiful thing.
4. Swimming. Need I say more.
5. T.V. The kids don’t get to watch television during the week while school is in session. They make up for it during the summer.

I’m sure their list is longer and includes Six Flags trips and other adventures. I love that they are young enough to enjoy everything and haven’t quite hit the “Everything is boring” phase yet. I want my kids to have summers they can look back on and say they had some fun.

Summer is here!

Reace Alvarenga-Smith is a Mom of two in the Dallas/Fort Worth area.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Sick babies, working moms, and daycare dilemmas

My sweet boy has had a 101 fever all week long that just broke today. And lately, it feels like fevers are an every-other-week occurrence.

The recent one started when I picked him up from daycare Monday, plucking him from amid the herd of coughing, glistening-nosed babes. “Just so you know, another one went home with diarrhea,” a staff member informed me.

Oh, okay, great.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Strength of a Community

Julie's kids and their friends passed out fliers inviting tornado victims to a free meal at Lakeside Baptist Church.

I have lived in Granbury for ten years and have loved our community with its small town charm and historic downtown square that attracts visitors from everywhere.

It wasn’t until the tornado hit our town last week that I truly began to understand just how tight-knit our community really is.

From the moment the tornado left the area, people began giving, collecting, working to help their neighbors and showing God’s love during a time of crisis.  The outpouring of love in this community and to this community has been amazing.  To see such a positive impact in a negative situation has stirred the hearts of people around the country. 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

The Struggle to Breastfeed

After many attempts of IUI, I finally got pregnant in 2011.  As a neonatal nurse, each week that went was one step closer to the magical “viability” stage of 24 weeks, then 37 weeks when the chances were good that my baby wouldn’t have to visit my friends in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.  My son was born 10 days before his due date and was healthy and beautiful!

As my pregnancy progressed, I was always asked the question, “Are you going to breastfeed?”  “Of course I’m going to breastfeed my baby,” I would say!  After ALL of the education we have received as nurses to encourage our mothers to breastfeed, I knew that the best thing I could do for my son was for him to receive my breast milk.   In fact, four days prior to my delivery, I attended a two-hour class, required for all neonatal nurses that emphasized the benefits of exclusive breastfeeding, as well as steering mothers away from using formula (in a nice way).  I took this knowledge with me knowing that in a few short weeks, I would be in the same position as the Moms we teach.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Ten ways to go Greek!

Need some new ways to enjoy Greek yogurt? Read on for 10 healthy and unique ways to use and substitute this nutritional powerhouse:

1.) Use a dollop of Greek yogurt instead of sour cream on baked potatoes, chili, or Mexican food.

2.) At-home FroYo – combine 1-5.3 oz container Greek yogurt with cut up or frozen fruit & freeze for at least an hour for a no sugar added frozen treat.

3.) Substitute Greek yogurt for mayo 1:1 in tuna/egg/chicken/potato salad recipes.

4.) DIY Ranch Dressing – mix 1 Tbsp Ranch seasoning with 1-5.3 oz container Greek yogurt to make a salad dressing for veggies or spread for sandwiches or burgers. Add 1 tbsp taco seasoning for a spicy version.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Isn’t it about time for a second child?

Truth be told, Lauren and I probably get too much credit from our relatives and close friends for being excellent planners. When we first got married, we had no real plan about when or if we wanted to start a family.  After we had been married five years, lived in several places and worked at different jobs, we found ourselves able to take advantage of the housing market downturn and buy a home right in the middle of “kid central.”

It appeared to any casual observer that we were meticulously planning to start a family. In actuality it wasn’t anything near that well planned. It just so happened that one day I jokingly said, “We should move,” and Lauren said, “Ok.” Three weeks later we had a new home. Furthermore, our decision to start a family had nothing to do with our living situation – Lauren and I just felt that the time was right for us to try to have a child, and we were blessed with one.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Big impact for little hearts

Recently, I read about two Texas Moms who are campaigning for a test to be performed that detects heart defects in newborns. Unfortunately, the mothers lost their newborns unexpectedly – but their passion has propelled them to convince the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to officially recommend the test to states.

This year, the Texas House passed a bill requiring hospitals to test newborns, and the Senate will consider it next.

My reason for drawing attention to this is simple: my children were each diagnosed with heart murmurs during routine examinations by their pediatrician. It is a benefit to our community and our families that these tests are a standard screening at Texas Health hospitals and are done on every baby prior to discharge.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Are car seat accessories safe?

I have a confession. My biggest fear of having a baby isn’t childbirth, or sleepless nights, or making breastfeeding work or even leaving my baby to return to work after maternity leave. It’s the car seat. Why am I so terrified of what is basically a glorified piece of plastic? No clue. But I am.

Whenever I think of car seats I just want to curl up in a ball and ignore the reality that come October I will need to know how to install one, or even worse before then I’ll have to sort out which model to buy. Perhaps I’m most scared because I know from my job at Texas Health Resources that in the Dallas-Fort Worth area 80 percent of individuals who come get their car seats checked actually have install the car seats incorrectly. I spend so much time in my car it terrifies me that I might do something so important wrong.

And with the age of Pinterest if you even begin looking at car seats there are even more options for how you can supposedly make your baby more comfortable. But then I start wondering as I look at the cute accessories: is that needed? Is it safe? The one comfort to me in the whole car seat process is that I know that all car seats must adhere to the safety standards put in place by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and have specific manufacturer instructions that need to be followed. And I’ve also learned that most manufacturers warn against using unregulated products because they were not crash-tested with their seats.

With all that said I turned to Melissa Smart, a certified child passenger safety technician at Texas Health, to ask her to give me the lowdown on all those products I see floating around regarding car seats.

Here’s her take on the most common items:

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

What the BRCA gene mutation means for my family

“Mommy, when I’m a mommy will I have to get cancer, too?”

My 5-year-old daughter asked me this a few months ago. I was hoping she wouldn’t remember that I ever went through cancer. But something jogged her memory of the days that mommy lay sick in bed for days after each round of chemo.

How’s a mommy supposed to answer this – especially knowing that, like Angelina Jolie, I have a BRCA gene mutation that I passed on to my daughter?

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Eating for Two: Good Nutrition for Carrying Twins

For an updated version of this article, visit the Texas Health blog, Are You A Well Being, here

Question: What kinds of foods did you eat while you were pregnant?

This is probably the number one question I get - eating while pregnant.  Even as a dietitian this became a serious struggle for me when trying to keep a balance of what I was supposed to provide my body and the two babies inside of it and what I actually wanted to eat.

I never dealt with nausea (thank goodness) in the early months at all, ever.  I was expecting the most horrible morning sickness due to the fact that I was walking around with hormones through the roof, but I never got sick.  On the nausea end of things- I can recommend simple carbohydrates to soothe an upset stomach (saltines, dry toast, apple sauce, bananas).  These will help it to subside and pass quickly- pretty much the only food sources that will work on that issue.

Carrying twins I knew I needed more calories than a normal pregnancy.  The daily recommended caloric intake for normal-BMI women pregnant with twins is 40-45 kcal/kg- which meant I needed anywhere between 2,200-2,500 calories/day.  For the most part I was able to hit this goal every day, but it was definitely easier said than done towards the end of my second trimester.  I would focus on small meals often throughout my day.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Paying it forward

Holly Natale, left, and Jacqueline Fox, right, donate gifts to
NICU manager Michelle Kelly  for Moms at Texas Health Plano .

Jacqueline Fox knows how tough it is to be a pregnant Mom on bedrest or to have a preemie in the neonatal intensive care unit.

That’s why this Mother’s Day, instead of getting pampered, she organized a mom-to-mom gift exchange at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano – for Moms facing those medical challenges this holiday, from Moms who have previously been in their place. A total of 16 Moms donated 37 gifts for Moms spending part or all of Mother’s Day in the hospital.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Mommy Sign

There is this scene in “For Love of the Game” where Kelly Preston’s character is explaining to Kevin Costner that she believed men and women should wear signs around their necks, basically saying who they are or their mood at any given time (one example was “shallow”).  Love that movie.

In years past, I could have used a “Sister.” With brothers a number of years younger than me, it would have been helpful for all the disapproving glances I got from people who I assumed I was a (EXTREMELY) young mother. It’s also a sign I would have worn proudly – being “Sissy” or “Sis” to my four brothers is by far my one of my two most cherished roles in life.

During my time trying to conceive, I would have worn an “Infertility” sign to ward off questions, help people understand why the 12 pregnant bellies that just passed me in the grocery stores made me want to run crying to my car. That sign would have said just about everything that needed to be said about that time in my life.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

The Terrible Two’s

Preparing for my daughter’s second birthday causes me to sit back and reflect on the dreaded phrase for many parents – “the terrible two’s.”

My firstborn never ceases to surprise me. Counting to ten, trying to speak in complete sentences and proudly singing her ABC’s, her constant mental development and comprehension makes me smile from ear to ear.

On the other hand, some of her actions make me shake my head and wonder if she actually came from my womb.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Pinterest Birthday Surprise

I have to admit, with two kids, a husband, and two geriatric animals at home, I don’t have time for anything, much less planning for birthday celebrations like I used to.  Thank goodness for Pinterest!  I used to get so many compliments on my birthday parties, so I always feel the need to live up to my legacy.  So I needed to come up with something, and quick!

I am an avid Pinterest user, and pin like it is going out of style.  Sometimes, I pin items mindlessly with the hope of coming back to it later.  This saved me the weekend that my son was turning 10 years old.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Dancing – even when you don’t want to

This morning, as I ran around my house trying to gather up everything I needed for work and get my pre-schooler’s backpack in working order, I was invited to a dance party. And I kind of had to go.

A little back story: My husband and I love music. Not in the sense that we play instruments or sing and not in the sense that we’re super knowledgeable in music history or anything. We just like to listen to music. At our house, it’s not uncommon for us to crank up the radio and just start dancing with our now 5-year-old son, Max. Through the years, that has evolved into what Max calls our “family dance party” during which we turn on music and Max and our 1-year-old Jack and my husband and I just … dance.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mommy Guilt

I am not sure if there is a diagnosis code for my symptoms, but I think there should be. I suffer from Mommy-guilt and foster Mommy-guilt.

Yes, I feel like I have a ton of bricks upon my shoulders when I want to just escape for just a quick minute walk. My husband has encouraged me to find time for myself and to get a break from the kids. When I am not experiencing my side effects of my unclassified and self-diagnosed condition, I try to find the time to take a quick walk in the evenings.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Sleep can wait

It’s after 2 a.m. I’m yanked from a deep sleep by familiar unhappy baby noises at the other end of the monitor. When will he outgrow this? I wonder, as I zombie-walk past the dark kitchen and down the hall to his bedroom.

Brian has been trying to comfort him to no avail. “I’ll take over, you get back to sleep,” I say to my husband who does more than his fair share of dawn patrol duty.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Not-So Crafty Momma Strikes Again!

It’s that time of year again…that time when Moms like me (aka, not-so-crafty Moms) feel the need to attempt cute, homemade things for their most adorable darlings. Yep…it’s birthday time!

For MONTHS – and that’s in real time, so imagine what it’s like in toddler-time – Sam has been asking for a Mickey Mouse Marching band birthday party. We’re a band family, so I was HAPPY to oblige that request! Plus, I already knew I had a Mickey Mouse Bandleader cake pan – SCORE! I could bake and decorate his cake again! However, I knew the cake from that pan would not be big enough for large number of expected party guests (family alone is nearly 30 people).

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Quick & Easy Weeknight Dinner

Quick and easy. How does that sound on a busy weeknight? Personally, it makes me sing Hallelujah.

This one was really easy: throw it all in a skillet and let it cook. We all know my affinity for sauce-y dishes and this one doesn’t fail to impress my taste buds, even with a super light broth based sauce.  The sauce thickens as it cooks and with the addition of the Parmesan at the end, it thickens up a bit more and perfectly coats the pasta.

A few quick tips...
•    Dont rinse your pasta. Your sauce will slippery slope right off, never ever coating your noodles the way we love for it to- especially this kind of sauce.
•    Don’t season your mushroom/onion mixture until you’ve got your desired browning on your veggies -- salt will hinder that golden color on your mushrooms, so wait to do it until you add the broth.
•    The sauce will seem really liquid-y, but just be patient and wait for it to simmer down to reduce and thicken.  It will be worth the wait.
•    Fresh or frozen spinach can be subbed out in the recipe, but if using frozen be sure to drain that spinach as best you can to limit any additional liquid being added.